APEC’s Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) was formed in 2011, following a decision to merge the Marine Resource Conservation and the Fisheries working groups (in operation since 1990 and 1991, respectively).
The OFWG’s mission is to support APEC’s mission to foster sustainable economic growth, development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. The OFWG works to facilitate free and open trade in the region and promotes the sustainable use of fisheries, aquaculture, and marine ecosystem resources and related goods and services. The OFWG will promote cooperation among its members, governments, academia, private industry, and regional and international organizations to advance this process.
The OFWG is committed to
- Take continued action to end illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, build capacity to address the negative impacts of IUU fishing on APEC Economies, sustainable fisheries, food security, and continue enacting measures to combat IUU through further implementation of the Roadmap on Combatting IUU fishing
- Encourage the development of tools to assess and address the physical and economic impacts of marine litter, marine debris, and ghost fishing gear on APEC economies, fisheries, and the marine environment through the progress made in the implementation plan for the Roadmap on Marine Debris
- Take action to implement initiatives that contribute to the resilience and sustainability of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in APEC Economies, including support for COVID-19 recovery, fisheries and aquaculture supply chains, the livelihood of communities, and food security
- Make the aquaculture and fisheries sectors more resilient to climate change and mitigate their contribution to climate change through advancement of conservation and sustainable management regimes
- Promote continued activities within APEC which are consistent with the common view of the blue economy as agreed at the 3rd OFWG Meeting in 2014
- Enhance cooperation with relevant public and private stakeholders, including through participation in OFWG initiatives and communication of OFWG materials
- Recognize the importance of the role played by women in fisheries and aquaculture
- Recognize the common challenges faced by the agriculture sector, particularly relative to food security
The 21st Ocean and Fisheries Working Group plenary meeting took place on 29-30 July 2023 in Seattle. OFWG members actively engaged in the discussion of the updated implementation plans of the 2019 APEC Roadmap on Marine Debris Management, the 2019 Roadmap on Combatting IUU Fishing and how the group should move forward Small-scale Fisheries and Aquaculture Roadmap. They discussed how OFWG’s work could contribute to implement the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 including through the Aotearoa Plan of Action, ECOTECH mid-term priorities and Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy as well as the 2023 host economy’s priorities. The OFWG reaffirmed its commitment to “Strong Balanced, Secure, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth.” Member economies also shared updates of their economies’ ongoing projects and potential projects.
The 22nd APEC Roundtable Meeting on the Involvement of the Business/Private Sector in the Sustainability of the Marine Environment took place in hybrid mode on 6-7 September 2023 in Taipei, Chinese Taipei (Chinese Taipei).
The roundtable meeting aimed to provide a platform where stakeholders from public and private sectors with expertise in policies, technologies and business can have comprehensive dialogues on identifying the potentials and challenges as well as best practices to accelerate the development of the sustainable ocean environment, including the blue carbon and marine conservation under offshore wind energy.
APEC Training Workshop on Capacity Building for Blue Citizen was held in hybrid mode on 13-16 September 2023 in Xiamen, China (China).
The training workshop was held to improve the capacity building of “Blue Citizen” in the APEC region. It involved senior experts in the APEC region who focus on marine and coastal conservation and management capacity building, ocean literacy research and practice, ecosystem services enhancement from the ocean and marine education to discuss and extend outreach of the operational approaches of Blue Citizens including the development of a Blue Citizen Guidebook.
Marine Microplastic pollution and Control Policy in the APEC region to be held in person on 26-27 September 2023 in Qingdao, China (China)
The workshop’s aim is to exchange domestic achievements and experience in marine microplastics, including microplastic monitoring technologies, spatial distribution, database application, and control policy, with the goal of strengthening marine environmental knowledge in the APEC region to prevent marine microplastic pollution.
Capacity Building on Vessel Innovation Symposium to Combat Marine Debris to be held in person on 18-20 October 2023 in Bali, Indonesia (Indonesia)
The project aims to assist economies in addressing marine debris by using innovative vessel concepts and operational models. To do so, the three-day symposium will aim to achieve a common understanding of marine debris clean-up strategies by developing guidelines and recommendations on ship innovation, fleet management and cooperation in international waters to address marine debris.
Webinar Review of Traceability Systems applied to the Value Chain of Fisheries and Aquaculture in APEC Economies on 25–26 October 2023 (Chile)
The two-day virtual workshop will gather 21 APEC economies to share about their economies’ traceability systems applied to the Value Chain of Fisheries and Aquaculture; identify gaps and strengths with the aim of proposing guidelines for the implementation of traceability systems in APEC economies; and standardize and facilitate the transit of goods in the APEC region.
International Policy Development of Marine Pollution Control, including Marine Plastic Debris and Sustainable Waste Management in hybrid mode on 25-27 October 2023 in Beijing, China (China)
The workshop intends to discuss the challenges and marine environmental threats in the Asia-Pacific region and to explore policy solutions on economic, industry and community level. Delegates from government, academia and other stakeholders in APEC economies, and international organizations are welcome to attend the workshop to share policy framework, tools and criteria on marine debris and waste management, and identify opportunities for further collective actions. This workshop will be a step forward on APEC’s contribution to global marine debris governance and sustainable waste management.
Microplastics Distribution in Coastal Aquaculture Input Systems and Developing a Mitigation Plan towards Seafood Safety will take place in person on 8-10 November 2023, in Bali, Indonesia (Indonesia)
The project aims to define the existing policy and regulatory framework regarding prevention and mitigation of contamination and distribution of microplastics in coastal aquaculture input chains among APEC member economies; produce research based on information on the level of contamination and distribution of microplastics in the input chain of coastal aquaculture; and produce recommendations in the form of a mitigation plan as a basis for further refinement of the policy and regulatory framework in preventing and mitigating contamination and distribution of microplastics in coastal aquaculture in APEC member economies.