The meeting was held in response to the request made by delegates of countries of the Americas that attended the IV Session of the Sub-committee of Aquaculture of the Committee on Fisheries of FAO in Puerto Varas, Chile in October last year. Delegates representing 13 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa-Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, USA) and two aquaculture-related intergovernmental organisations attended.
As an invited key-note speaker, Dr Sena De Silva, Director General of the Network of Aquaculture Centres of Asia-Pacific (NACA), apprised the group of the successful evolution of the network he leads. This presentation, along with a global and a regional synthesis of the aquaculture sector presented by FAO, provided the context for the discussions of the country representatives, who formulated and agreed upon the network’s mission and vision statements. The delegates also designed and agreed upon the basic organisational structure of the proposed network and identified the priority areas that such a cooperation mechanism should address in its initial stages.
Delegates signed a letter of intent that ratified the interest of their governments to create an inter-governmental aquaculture network, an important step towards creating this long-aspired mechanism for cooperation in the sustainable development of the sector in the Americas.
The delegates chose Brazil as the host country for the network in its initial stage, which is expected to be approximately two years. This involves the provision of an office and the Secretariat for the network. The Secretariat will coordinate the formulation of the statutes and the processes that lead to its formal constitution through the signing of an inter-governmental agreement by the national aquaculture authorities of participating countries.
As an initial step the delegates recommended the creation of a Directive Council to coordinate with the Executive Secretary. The Council will be formed by the delegates of Mexico (representing North America); the Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization of the Centro America isthmus (OSPESCA) who will represent Central American countries; Ecuador (representing Andean countries) and Chile (representing southern cone of South America). A Caribbean representation is expected to join soon.
The meeting was organized by the FAO´s Deputy Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Team for South America and the Aquaculture Service, of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of FAO in Rome.