Tuesday, March 25, 2008

E-discussion on traceability issues for fish products

Between October and December 2007, the third phase of the 2007 e-discussion on ACP-EU fisheries relations looked into traceability issues for fish products.

Three areas of discussion were chosen as most relevant by ACP stakeholders:
  • Sharing the responsibilities of traceability;
  • Costs and benefits of traceability;
  • Quality and traceability of fish products
137 participants took part in the discussion, resulting in the circulation of 84 information items and 26 contributions. In particular, participants concluded that:
  • Technical means to ensure traceability should not be imposed by the EU, they need to be discussed with the ACP professionals;
  • More information is needed on the various aspects of traceability, including traceability as a tool against IUU fishing, good handling practices, etc;
  • For traceability to play a positive role in fisheries management, traceability requirements should also take into account information that can protect our oceans (fishing zone where the fish is caught, etc);
  • The European Commission's October 2007 policy initiative aimed at eliminating illegal fishing activities will require concrete support to ACP countries to ensure that the measures proposed do not constitute new trade barriers for legally-caught fish from developing countries;
  • Improving traceability in the artisanal fishing sector requires greater use of GPS (global positioning systems) so fishermen can precisely determine their fishing zone, registration of pirogues, use of improved containers that comply with sanitary norms, and better-equipped and regulated landing sites.
The first two phases of the 2007 e-discussion focused on issues on the agenda of the 27th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and on fisheries research issues.

The final report of the 2007 e-consultation is available here (pdf).

See also Euforic newsfeed and dossier on fisheries.