FAO’s premier aquaculture forum holds first post-pandemic meeting

Fisheries and aquaculture still face sustainability challenges, but as trade in the sector continues to grow, its contribution to food security and safeguarding livelihoods remains essential, Qu Dongyu, Managing Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said earlier this week.

He made the remarks during a virtual meeting of the 18th Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, the world’s leading forum for discussions and decisions on fisheries and fish trade. aquaculture. More than 300 delegates from 65 members and observers registered for the meeting of this sub-committee, the first since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“The effects of the pandemic on production, supply systems and markets have caused significant disruption and change in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Today, the sector’s resilience is again being tested as the effects of the war in Ukraine, as well as other conflicts around the world, add to the complexity of global fish and seafood operations. aquaculture,” the FAO Director-General told the meeting. .

“Supply shortages for traditional fish species, rising transport and fuel costs and an overall increase in prices have led to changing consumer behavior and demand adjustments., which have affected the way fisheries and aquaculture products are produced and marketed,” he added.

Nonetheless, Qu was optimistic about what the sector has to offer, saying it can bring about positive changes in terms of social inclusion, poverty reduction and food security where new markets can generate income for people. small producers, boost nutrition and reduce global imbalances. He also said that it is a very inclusive sector for women, especially in processing activities.

“FAO is committed to continuing to support its members in building a sustainable, inclusive, resilient and empowering fisheries and aquaculture sector,” the Director-General said.

Plenary session

The virtual plenary session is scheduled for June 7, 8, 9 and 20. This session includes 10 working papers. Among the documents usually submitted to members during sub-committee sessions are a wide range of topics related to fisheries and aquaculture trade. An overview of production, trade and consumption patterns, FAO’s work on trade-related issues, as well as the most recent FAO data, links with other international organizations and analysis of FAO’s work on food safety are some of the perennial topics.

The previous meeting of the sub-committee took place in Vigo, Spain, at the end of 2019.

FAO strives to implement integrated approaches when it comes to trade and resource management, coastal management, aquaculture, livelihoods, food security and nutrition, value chains and aquatic food systems. It cooperates with other international organizations to build on its strengths, with a focus on capacity building and standardization activities.

These are activities that are firmly rooted in the “blue transformation” Priority area of ​​the program, defined in the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31which aims to support more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable aquatic food systems.

Fisheries Committee

COFI is a subsidiary body of the FAO Council. It is the only global intergovernmental forum where FAO members meet to discuss and discuss fisheries and aquaculture issues and challenges.

COFI periodically provides global recommendations and policy advice to governments, regional fisheries bodies, civil society organizations, and actors from the private sector and the international community.

The Committee has encouraged the development and adoption of several binding agreements as well as non-binding instruments that have reshaped the functioning of the sector in the interests of resource sustainability, including biodiversity conservation.

Melvin B. Baillie