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ICFA members meeting this week in Rome

Javier Garat re-elected president of the International Coalition of Fisheries Associations

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Thursday, September 12, 2019, 02:30 (GMT + 9)

Rome - The Spanish Javier Garat has been re-elected president of ICFA (International Coalition of Fisheries Associations). The re-election of Garat, who will thus face his fifth term at the head of this organization, took place in the meeting held by ICFA members this week in Rome,  in which they have  analazed the internal and external factors impacting the fisheries sector on a global scale . Javier Garat, in addition to general secretary of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca), is also president of the European organization Europêche, which has been part of ICFA since 2005.

During the meeting in Rome, ICFA members addressed issues such as eco-labeling of fishery products, the management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), illegal, undocumented and unregulated fishing (IUU or IUU fishing) or the potential of applying blockchain technology to the traceability of fishery products.

ICFA members meeting in Rome. (Photo: CEPESCA)

Another issue that focuses the attention in this year's meeting are the negotiations on BBNJ (Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction), and at this point several ICFA members have stressed the importance of ensuring that this process does not nullify the efforts of Regional Organizations of Fishing (RFO) that, according to the fisheries sector and as Garat has already defended repeatedly, are the most appropriate instruments to manage transzonal and highly migratory fish stocks, as well as those of other associated species.

Labor and social conditions in the fisheries sector have also been the subject of analysis by ICFA members, who consider fundamental the development of a social standard for global-scale fishing vessels that guarantees equal conditions at the socio-labor level. Thus, the situation of accession of the different countries to Convention 188 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) has been reviewed and they have also addressed the current issue for the recruitment of crew members and how to attract the younger generations to the sector.

ICFA has also discussed the collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the situation of deep-sea fishing activity in Non-National Jurisdiction Areas (ABNJ) and the results of the eighteenth meeting (COP18) of the parties of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and whose plenary session approved the inclusion of the mako shark, with the consequent increase in bureaucracy and costs for the fleets that capture this species.

According to Javier Garat, “we are at a crucial moment to continue advancing in the development of sustainable fishing practices compatible with the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The current challenges, - adds Garat -, require the cooperation of different fisheries organizations and the coordination of international initiatives to continue advancing in environmental sustainability, but also social and economic, an objective that is one of ICFA's reasons for being and to which we want to add the commitment of other fleets under a global vision of the fishing activity.”

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