The 17th session of the Subcommittee on Fish Trade

The Subcommittee on Fish Trade held its 17th session from 25 to 29 November 2019 in Vigo, Spain, that was attended by 48 Members and 17 observers from intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations.

In this session, SCFT discussed the state of international trade and a number of issues related to seafood trade, including the food safety and consumer protection, documentation and legality and transparency, traceability and the fight against IUU fishing, access of small-scale fisheries to international trade, trade in fisheries-related services and social responsibility in the fisheries sector.

The Sub-Committee has considered these issues in the light of recent developments in fish trade, as well as the strategic orientations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in particular the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 which is dedicated exclusively to the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, which covers ten objectives related to marine pollution, the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems, the reduction of ocean acidification, the sustainable management of fisheries and the removal of subsidies harmful to fisheries, conservation of coastal and marine areas and increased economic benefits for small island developing States and least developed countries.

The SCFT welcomed the fruitful collaboration of FAO with other international bodies, including the OECD, UNCTAD, ILO, IMO, WCO and WTO for the design and putting in place systems that support sustainable development.

The SCFT praised the activities of GLOBEFISH and the FISHINFO network that provide reliable and up-to-date market information and deserve continued support from FAO in coordinating it.

With regard to food safety, the Subcommittee supported the Codex standardization process even though the Codex Committee was no longer active, but relevant work was being done by other relevant committees such as the Committee on Contaminants.

The SCFT expressed concern about the issues of food fraud, loss and waste in the context of food safety, the impacts of climate change on the fisheries sector in general, and small-scale fisheries in particular, IUU fishing activities.

The Subcommittee discussed during this session other issues, such as value chains for small scale fisheries, catch documentation programs, traceability systems, biodiversity, social responsibility and fisheries-related services.

With regard to the last two aspects, social responsibility and fisheries-related services, the Sub-Committee invites FAO to continue consultations to better identify the problem, identify the main issues and identify key stakeholders, in particular their roles and competencies, their core mandates and limit themselves to relevant international instruments and tools covering the field of fisheries and aquaculture activities.

With regard to the project to create the World University of Fisheries, the Subcommittee welcomed the progress of the pilot program for this project.

Finally, the Subcommittee was informed of the possibility of setting up a new Fisheries Management Sub-Committee, as requested by the 33rd Session of the Committee on Fisheries.

Regarding the new Sub-Committee's Bureau, Mr. Diéne Ndiaye from Senegal was elected President and Mr. James Brown from New Zealand was elected First Vice-President. Brazil, the USA, Iceland and the Sultanate of Oman were elected Vice-Presidents.