1211 GENEVA 19


Resolution adopted without a vote by the 95th Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Istanbul, 19 April 1996)

The 95th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Mindful of the challenges that a constantly growing world population poses to humankind,

Aware of the need to secure sufficient food for human use both now and in the future in a world where hundreds of millions of people suffer from hunger and malnutrition,

Recognizing that living marine resources are an indispensable renewable source of high-quality protein for humankind and, hence, a vital potential means of ensuring global food security for present and future generations,

Recognizing also that living marine resources are especially important as a source of animal protein for many of the less developed countries,

Deeply concerned that in the 1990s, the supply of fish for direct human consumption has stagnated owing mainly to overfishing and degradation of the freshwater, marine and coastal environment,

Noting that demand for fish for direct human consumption will, in all likelihood, continue to increase faster than supply if firm action is not taken to put a halt towards overfishing and the degradation of the freshwater, marine and coastal environment,

Noting further that overfishing is the cardinal problem in fish stock conservation and management and that it is caused by a number of factors, including population pressure combined with government subsidization of the fishing industry which maintains excessive fishing capacity, bad or predatory fishing practices, including the use of non-selective fishing gear, and inadequate fisheries management systems,

Convinced that improved fisheries management could yield substantial economic benefits,

Concerned that pollution of the seas, especially from land-based activities, has extremely harmful effects on marine life and its habitats and consequently reduces marine fish production while posing a real threat to the very survival of coastal populations which depend to a large extent on the sustainable utilization of living marine resources,

Noting in particular the contamination of fresh and marine waters with persistent organic pollutants - so-called POPS - which are a threat to the productivity and long-term sustainability of living marine resources,

Deeply concerned at the serious threats to freshwater, marine and coastal biological diversity from factors such as physical alterations, destruction and degradation of habitats, pollution and over-exploitation of living resources,

Also concerned that the decrease of living resources in some of the world's oceans has led to an increase in disputes among nations,

Recognizing the importance of inland fisheries, in particular for land-locked countries, where freshwater fish are often important for food security,

Taking account of the fact that the economies of some States are to a very large extent dependent on the exploitation of living marine resources,

Welcoming the World Food Summit to be held in Rome on 13 to 17 November 1996 with the aim of renewing the commitment of world leaders at the highest level to the eradication of hunger and malnutrition and the achievement of food security for all,

Recalling the relevant provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1992 Declaration of Cancún on Responsible Fisheries, the 1992 Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the 1993 FAO Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas, the 1995 United Nations Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the UNCLOS relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (Implementing Agreement), the 1995 Rome Consensus on World Fisheries, the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the 1995 Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security, the 1995 Washington Declaration and Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities and the 1995 Report of the Second Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity),

1. Urges States to sign and ratify the UNCLOS (1982), the UNCLOS Implementing Agreement (1995) and other relevant agreements mentioned in paragraph 16 of its preamble, all of which are of importance for the management, conservation and exploitation of living marine resources;

2. Emphasizes in particular the importance of the UNCLOS (1995) Implementing Agreement on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks as a practical and enforceable means to end high seas overfishing, as well as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995) and the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (1993), both adopted by FAO Conferences;

3. Calls on States to promote and strengthen scientific research, including studies on the effectiveness of multispecies management and the ecosystem process-oriented approach, as the basis for the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture activities in order to ensure food security;

4. Also calls on States to ensure the sustainable and rational utilization of all living marine resources, including marine mammals, in order to optimize the sustainable yield of protein resources to satisfy human needs worldwide;

5. Urges all fishing nations to adopt legislation and implement necessary measures in order to ensure responsible fisheries management, including zoning and mapping of fishing grounds for sustainable fishing;

6. Calls on fishing nations to build the precautionary principle into their sustainable fisheries management policies, as recommended by the FAO;

7. Urges States to make every effort to minimize environmental degradation of inland waters and marine and coastal areas, especially by protecting habitats and spawning grounds, as the preservation of freshwater, brackish water marine and coastal environment is a prerequisite for achieving the sustainable development of fisheries;

8. Calls on the international community to take immediate action to curb marine pollution by persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including the phasing-out of POPs;

9. Also calls on States to eliminate current emissions and discharges of radioactive and chemical substances into the marine and coastal environment and prevent them in the future;

10. Encourages governments to comply with all relevant international standards regarding the operation of vessels and effective implementation of flag State controls;

11. Calls on States to pay particular attention to the significant problems caused by dumping from ships, to enhance controls at sea and, more particularly, to establish the necessary legal mechanisms for the enforcement of sanctions;

12. Invites States to ensure that the capacity of fishing fleets does not exceed the productive capacity of fisheries resources, thereby securing their long-term sustainable utilization, and to restructure their fishing fleets where necessary to meet this objective;

13. Calls on States to reduce and ultimately eliminate government subsidization of the fishing industry, which maintains excessive fishing capacity, and to promote a fishing industry that operates on a commercial basis;

14. Encourages States to commit themselves to the further development of environmentally sustainable freshwater, brackish water and marine aquaculture, including ranching, bearing in mind that aquaculture has enormous potential for increasing and stabilizing the world's supply of fish available for food;

15. Urges States to take measures to reduce by-catches, discards and post-harvest losses, and also urges all fishing nations to increase the available supply of better fish and fishery products for human consumption by (i) increasing use of small pelagic species for human consumption; (ii) reducing discarding at sea; (iii) making better use of by-catches through the development, improvement and sharing of appropriate storage, processing and distribution technology; and (iv) developing and promoting effective means of ensuring the safety of food of aquatic origin, including the harmonization of international regulations;

16. Calls on States to develop legislation, including appropriate enforcement mechanisms, to ensure the use of selective and environmentally safe fishing gear and practices in order to preserve biological diversity, maintain the integrity of marine ecosystems and minimize the risk of long-term or irreversible effects of fishing operations;

17. Urges States to take steps to encourage responsible trading in fish products, as indicated in Article 11 of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, in particular as regards juvenile fish and fish caught using predatory fishing practices, in order to contribute to the preservation and optimum management of resources;

18. Calls on the international community to provide technical and financial assistance to less developed countries to help them ensure that their fisheries make a sustainable contribution to food security;

19. Calls on States to encourage the development of small or artisanal fishing by the provision of adequate exclusively reserved fishing zones and infrastructural, technical and financial facilities, and to promote the welfare of coastal fishing communities;

20. Urges States to solve fisheries disputes in a peaceful manner in accordance with international agreements;

21. Calls on States to assist less developed countries in ensuring that the large industrial fishing fleets respect their exclusive economic zones;

22. Invites the international community to strengthen, inter alia through active participation of States, international and regional bodies whose activities concern the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biological diversity, and calls on these bodies to review their programmes with a view to improving existing measures and developing new actions to promote the conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources, taking into account the recommendations for action by the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted by the Conference of the parties at its second meeting;

23. Calls on member Groups to ensure that parliamentarians are included in national delegations to the World Food Summit, and invites parliaments and individual parliamentarians to keep abreast of national and international preparations for the Summit;

24. Welcomes the suggestion that the IPU and the Italian Inter-Parliamentary Group should organize a meeting of parliamentarians present in Rome on the occasion of the World Food Summit;

25. Urges parliamentarians to redouble their efforts in pursuit of the above stated aims, and decides to forward this resolution to the World Food Summit and relevant international bodies.

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