Advisory Council on the Environment

Untitled Document

Recommendations of the APEC Workshop on the Impact of Destructive Fishing Practices on the Marine Environment

(ACE Paper 33/98)
for advice

At the ACE meeting held on 24 February 1998, the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) presented ACE Paper 9/98 "Cyanide Fishing and Live Reef Fish Trade in Hong Kong" for Members' information. Noting that the recommendations formulated at the APEC Workshop on the Impact of Destructive Fishing ractices on the Marine Environment were being finalised and would be presented to APEC's Marine Resources Conservation Workshop Group meeting for endorsement in June 1998, Members requested that the finalised recommendations be passed to them for information once available.

The finalised recommendations are now summarised in the Annex for Members' information. Representatives from AFD would attend the ACE meeting on 27 July 1998 to brief Members on how Hong Kong would implement these recommendations.

Agriculture and Fisheries Department
July 1998


Following presentation of papers in the first and second days of the Workshop, two group discussions were organised on the third day focusing on destructive fishing practices other than cyanide fishing and on cyanide fishing.

The following recommendations to address destructive fishing were put up by the Workshop participants :

A. General recommendations

  1. APEC economies should be encouraged to adopt and follow the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing.


  2. APEC economies should consider entering into bilateral agreements among themselves relating to aspects of destructive fishing practices of mutual concern as an interim measure.


  3. APEC should establish a small task team to draft a framework for co-operative action to address destructive fishing practices in the region, set management standards and protocols for export and import, to share experience, and to survey the needs for sharing of data and information.


  4. An existing network within APEC be tasked to act as a node for dissemination of information on destructive fishing practices, and sustainability of reef ecosystems at risk from trade in live fish.


  5. Work to build capacity in source economies on the development of alternative and sustainable fishing practices and the necessary institutes to support this.


  6. Efforts be encouraged within APEC on developing protocols and capacity for the culture of alternative fish species based on hatchery reared fries, including environmental and fish health issues, and alternative sources of feed.


  7. Adopt the general precautionary principle of protection of spawning aggregations for sustainable resource use. Support domestic fisheries agencies and NGOs' in research efforts on identification of spawning aggregations through research surveys, and consider creation of marine managed areas to control harvesting in areas where spawning aggregations are known to occur.


  8. Small working groups of experts should be established to develop approaches to managing and mitigating specific destructive fishing practices, such as dynamite fishing and trawling.


  9. Review current laws and regulations on destructive fishing practices and amend, introduce or proclaim relevant laws and regulations to ensure adequate penalties and scope, as well as disseminate information on these laws and regulations to interested parties.


  10. Review and strengthen existing public education mechanism available in APEC economies for better understanding of the nature, scale, and economic and environmental implications of destructive fishing practices across the APEC Region.


  11. APEC economies to consider establishing a value-added tax on tourism, or other alternative sources of revenue, to establish a domestic fund for the environment to support these and other efforts.


  12. APEC should convene a workshop of experts to develop community co-management of coastal resources, share experiences on management, adopt alternative fishing gear, and develop new approaches to alternative employment and income sources.


  13. The Marine Resource Conservation Working Group of APEC should convene a follow-up meeting to:


    1. evaluate progress;
    2. develop standards and protocols for inshore fishing, for adoption by APEC economies;
    3. identify mechanisms to strengthen legal and enforcement approaches; and
    4. identify two potential demonstration sites, namely a comprehensive marine management area (with community co-management) and an unmanaged area, so as to identify the benefits of improved management approaches, support the development of these in other areas, and provide opportunities for improvement.

B. Specific recommendations

  1. Endorse and support comprehensive data gathering and sharing at the domestic and regional levels concerning the live reef fish trade in source and importing APEC economies.


  2. Put in place comprehensive monitoring mechanisms at the domestic level to track volume, value and species concerning live reef fish trade in source and importing APEC economies. Specific actions are to :


  3. adopt, as modified accordingly, the Harmonized Code classifications for recording trade in live reef fish commodities for food, aquarium and mariculture in both exporting and importing economies (The Harmonized Code adopted in Hong Kong is at Enclosure);


  4. develop a simple, multilingual and easy to use instruction manual to aid species/species group identification for those involved in commodity classification (from traders to customs). To include common names, as well as trade names, pictures and simple descriptions for easy identification; and


  5. undertake domestic trade surveys to monitor fish sizes in trade, species composition for marine aquarium fishes and patterns, volumes and methods of "fingerling" harvest.


Build capacity to test live reef fish in exporting economies to ensure that they have been captured without the use of cyanide or other poisons.


Support from importing economies to the actions of exporting economies to control the sale of illegally captured live reef fish. Specific action is to develop and implement a standard and internationally recognized set of protocols and cyanide test for testing live reef fish for sale at the exporting economy and ultimately, when the tests are sensitive enough, at the importing economy.


Support the development of a medium term plan of action to institute a credible live reef fish certification system in the APEC Region.


Establish an informal task group of experts to develop protocols and manuals, and identify training needs to reduce mortality rates during the handling and shipment of live reef fish.


Support economically-viable and environmentally-sustainable aquaculture of live reef fish. Specific action is to actively support, through budget allocation and domestic priority setting, collaborative research on alternative sources of live reef fishes that do not depend on wild capture, in order to improve culturing capacity of reef fish species and develop experimental hatchery facilities.


Establish an informal group of experts to identify means of dissemination of the value of commodities and pricing systems to all levels of the trade and propose a dissemination system, and to implement such a system.


Seek and provide funding for training and awareness raising to stop the spread of destructive reef fish capture techniques in Small Island States in the Pacific and Indian Oceans that supply APEC markets.


Harmonized Codes - Hong Kong Department of Census and Statistics
(Implemented on 1 January 1997)

0301 1010   Live freshwater ornamental fish
0301 1020   Live marine ornamental fish
0301 9912   Fish fry, marine
0301 9921   Giant grouper, Epinephelus lanceolatus
0301 9922   High-finned grouper, Cromileptes altivelis
0301 9923   Spotted grouper / coral trout, Plectropomus spp.
0301 9929   Other groupers
0301 9931   Humphead wrasse, Cheilinus undulatus
0301 9939   Other wrasse and parrotfish
0301 9941   Snooks and basses
0301 9999   Other marine fish



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