Ocean and Fisheries Working Group
APEC’s Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) was formed in 2011, following a decision to merge the former Marine Resource Conservation and Fisheries working groups (in operation since 1990 and 1991 respectively).
OFWG is committed to:
- Exchange information and help foster institutional capacity building in a focused regional setting;
- Advance discussions and the development of solutions for common resource management problems and share best practices;
- Develop projects, which will be managed and evaluated by the Working Group according to Leaders’ and Ministers’ directives;
- Develop a regional approach with improved coordination for the implementation of various instruments (e.g. International Plans of Action);
- Facilitate trade and investment opportunities that promote the sustainable use of fisheries, aquaculture, and marine ecosystem resources;
- Cooperate and partner with other APEC working groups, international organizations, and the private sector where interests intersect;
- Ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources as well as protection of marine ecosystems needed to support fisheries and aquaculture; and
- Promote a common approach to preventing illegal fishing and related trade.
APEC’s focus on oceans and fisheries issues is natural, given that APEC members account for over 80 percent of global aquaculture production and more than 65 percent of the world’s capture fisheries. The consumption of fishery products in the APEC region is 65 percent higher than the world average. Moreover, APEC economies represent nine of the top ten fish producers in the world. Further information is available in the report Harvesting Currency: the Importance of Fisheries and Aquaculture for APEC Economies..
Source: Employment figures based on data from The State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In November 2014, APEC Leaders welcomed the Xiamen Declaration issued at the Fourth APEC Oceans Ministerial Meeting, and instructed Ministers and officials to fully implement it. They also acknowledged the Xiamen Declaration’s statement on the Blue Economy and welcomed the APEC Marine Sustainable Development Report. They encouraged the OFWG to work with other APEC fora to advance Blue Economy cooperation. In addition, the APEC Ministers also adopted a specific annex on Ocean Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region.
The 4th Blue Economy Forum
The 4th Blue Economy Forum was held in mid 2016in Haikou, China. The OFWG views blue economy as an approach to advance sustainable management and conservation of ocean and coastal resources and ecosystems and sustainable development, in order to foster economic growth.
The Blue Economy Forum involved key stakeholders such as the private and public sector as well as local communities on how to advance the blue economy in the region.
New Framework for Oceans Cooperation
APEC Oceans Ministers met in Xiamen, China on 28 August 2014 and outlined a new framework for Asia-Pacific ocean cooperation which was endorsed in the Xiamen Declaration. Recognizing the increasing fragility of the marine coastal environment and depletion of fishing stocks, the Ministers’ statement detailed measures to establish a more integrated and sustainable ocean partnership in the region.
The Xiamen Declaration focused on cooperation across four main areas: coastal and marine ecosystem conservation and disaster resilience; the role of the ocean on food security and food-related trade; marine science, technology and innovation, and blue economy. APEC Ocean Ministers committed to conserve at least ten per cent of coastal and marine areas through managed marine protected areas by 2020.
Projects in 2016
One funded project was approved in 2015 (see below) while one funded project has been approved (so far) in 2016.
Developing a Manual of Good Practices to Improve the Supply Chain of Marine Products Aiming to Maintain Health of the Fish Stock, Strengthening Food Security and Enhancing Trade in the Asia-Pacific Region (2015)
Aiming to eliminate critical points in the supply chain of marine products where the greatest percentage of fish catch is lost due to poor handling practices, the OFWG is working to develop a Manual on Good Practices to reduce or eliminate such losses in order to: have a healthier product for human consumption, strengthen food security, increase the income of fishing communities, decrease the extractive pressure and maintain health of marine resources, providing better quality products and improve fishery trade.
This project is a cross-fora initiative that responds directly to the objectives of the Ocean and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG), CTI, and the PPFS. It is also in line with the Paracas Action Agenda and the Nigata Action Plan and the Xiamen Declaration.
Investment Environment Reforms Target Tide of Trash
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APEC Ministers outline new partnership framework on oceans
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ASPIRE Prize winner balances ocean conservation and socioeconomic viability