FAO’s Committee on Fisheries progresses seabird conservation in Rome


Progress in the implementation of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related international plans of action was reported to the 28th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Committee On Fisheries (COFI) held in Rome, Italy from 2–6 March 2009 (click here).

Over a third of Members who responded to FAO’s questionnaire (33 percent of FAO Members) concerning implementation of the Code of Conduct had assessed longline fisheries and incidental seabird bycatch problems, and two-thirds of that number had conducted assessments concluding that a National Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (NPOA-Seabirds) was required.

Seven RFMOs (including CCAMLR, CCSBT, IATTC, SEAFO and WCPFC) gave information on their efforts to assist in the implementation of the IPOA-Seabirds at COFI-28.  These efforts included the implementation of conservation measures aimed at mitigating seabird bycatch, the introduction of devices to minimize seabird interaction such as bird-scaring lines, the establishment and implementation of NPOA-Seabirds, monitoring and research programmes such as data collection on seabird interaction and ecological risk assessment, and the further development and refinement of measures to mitigate seabird bycatch.

In response to a request made at the 27th Session of COFI in 2007, an Expert Consultation on Best Practice Technical Guidelines for IPOA/NPOA-Seabirds was held in Bergen, Norway in September 2008 (click here for an earlier news item). The Consultation recommended that FAO publish and disseminate best-practice technical guidelines and other FAO draft technical texts on seabird mitigation measures.  This recommendation was supported at COFI-28, with the Committee encouraging FAO to proceed with the publication of the best-practice technical guidelines.  The new guidelines extend the scope of the FAO’s IPOA-Seabirds from longline fisheries to include trawling and gill-netting.

Read related news items on the FAO’s involvement with seabird conservation at:




Posted by John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, with input from Warren Papworth, ACAP Executive Secretary, 8 March 2009

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