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August 1999 No. 13
The European Association of Fisheries Economists


Work on Fisheries - OECD

Role of Committee for Fisheries

The Committee for Fisheries, which was created in September 1961 by the Council of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), provides a unique forum for an open and frank discussion on economic and policy aspects of fisheries issues. The Committee for Fisheries meets twice yearly and considers reports prepared by the OECD Secretariat on a variety of topics including fisheries management, trade issues, financial assistance, sustainable and responsible fisheries issues.

On-going Programme

Since 1997 the Committee for Fisheries main thematic work has revolved around assessing the costs associated with the transition towards sustainable fisheries. Recognising the increasing importance of responsible fisheries, the Committee also observed that a transition towards that ultimate objective would entail costs, on fishers, on the fishing industry and on the society as a whole. The Study, with a working title of "The Economic Impact of the Transition to Responsible Fisheries", is targeted for completion by the end of 1999. The study has four main components as follows:

  • Evaluation of the potential gains and costs of the transition to responsible fisheries
  • Analysis of the impact of government financial transfers on the sustainability of fish resources
  • Assessment of the implications of responsible post-harvesting practices
  • Analysis of the social implications of responsible fisheries.

Programme of Work 2000-2002

The Programme of work 2000-2002 consists of four themes: (i) Monitoring, (ii) Sustainable Fisheries, (iii) Market Liberalisation and (iv) Policy Dialogue and Workshops. Each theme responds to a particular need for policy and economic analysis in the fisheries sector. Furthermore, each theme contains a number of specific activities that the Committee could undertake. Under the four themes, the 83rd Session of the Committee decided that, for the year 2000, it would undertake the following specific activities as a follow-up to the Transition Study. These include:

  • Monitoring/analysis of fisheries policies
  • Fisheries management costs
  • Market liberalisation
  • Fisheries sustainability indicators

However, the total amount of work that the Secretariat could carry out would depend on available resources, whether financed through the normal OECD budget or through voluntary contributions.

Other activities and recent publications

Review of Fisheries: In response to the Committee's mandate, the Committee has, on an annual basis, surveyed developments in Member countries fisheries sector, policies etc. Published as the Annual "Review of Fisheries in OECD Countries", Member countries report on regular initiatives covering a wide range of aspects including management, financial transfers, bilateral fisheries agreements, trade, aquaculture and production in general. The publication is a unique compilation of information on a variety of aspects of fisheries and fish farming in the OECD membership. The Review of Fisheries is published with a Statistical Annex giving key statistics on member countries landings, trade, quota allocations, financial transfers etc. Since 1999, the Review is published in full every second year only. Statistics are collected and disseminated every year, however, with a view not to break time series consistency. As from the 1998 Statistics (which will become available as from mid 1999), data will be accessible via the OECD fisheries website, downloadable free of charge.

Workshop on Seafood Inspection: This workshop was convened in Paris on 21-23 January 1998. The workshop gathered experts from member and observer countries, as well as those from international organisations. Issues discussed included criteria for determining equivalency in inspection systems, audit and verification methods and the potential for third party inspection. The publication is freely available on the OECD website.

Towards Sustainable Fisheries - Economic Aspects of the Management of Living Marine Resources: The Committee had over the period 1994 to 1996 reviewed the effects of most management measures in OECD Member countries with respect to economic, biological, social and administrative consequences. As a result, the study was published in 1997. This unique study on the management of fish resources provides economic analysis to help decision makers in the difficult task of finding the right tools to manage fish resources.

For further information on work undertaken by OECD please contact the Head of the Fisheries Division, Ola Flaaten, on ola.flaaten@oecd.org or the Project Manager, Joon-Suk Kang, on joon-suk.kang@oecd.org. You can also access the OECD fisheries website. 

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