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IMO Ministerial Conference - Safe fishing, Legal fishing

 

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Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, organized by IMO and the Government of Spain, Torremolinos, Málaga, Spain, 21-23 October 2019

 Conference purpose and aims

The Conference aims to promote ratification of the Cape Town Agreement, a key IMO treaty for safety of fishing vessels. The entry into force of the Cape Town Agreement will help deter the proliferation of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, by establishing international safety standards for fishing vessels.

The Conference is intended for ministers, policymakers, senior officials and relevant experts responsible for implementing fishing vessel safety and IUU fishing policies and enacting national legislation to ratify the Agreement.

The Conference is co-hosted by IMO and the Government of Spain, with the kind support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and The Pew Charitable Trusts. 

Detailed information can be found in Circular Letter No.3932.

 Ministerial segment

​The Conference will include a Ministerial Segment. Ministers attending will be invited to address the benefits of implementing a mandatory safety regime for fishing vessels, including reduced fatalities, improved working conditions, reduction of marine pollution, increased protection of polar waters, expanded enforcement measures to combat IUU fishing and reduced risks for search and rescue services. 

The Ministerial Segment will be opened by the United Nations Secretary‑General's Special Envoy for the Ocean, Mr. Peter Thomson. 

 Conference Programme

Venue: Torremolinos Congress Centre, Calle México 3, 29620, Torremolinos, Málaga, Spain 

The conference programme will have a number of segments addresing relevant themes. 

Preliminary conference programme 

Monday 21 October

  • Opening session: Welcome from Mayor of Torremolinos / Opening address by IMO Secretary-General / Keynote Address by Spanish Minister of Development / Appointment of Conference President

  • MInisterial segment: Conference President opens Segment / Keynote address by UN Special Envoy for the Ocean Peter Thomson / Statements by Ministers / General discussion

Tuesday 22 October

  • Setting the scene

  • IUU fishing, safety, working conditions and the Cape Town Agreement

  • Safety of fishing vessels in polar waters and protection of the marine environment

  • Advantages of ratifying the Cape Town Agreement

  • Challenges for bringing the Cape Town Agreement into force

Wednesday 23 October

  • Road to ratification of the Cape Town Agreement

  • Adoption of the Conference resolution

  • Closing remarks

Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Working Group on IUU Fishing

The Conference will be followed by a meeting of the Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Working Group on IUU Fishing, to be held after the Conference concludes on Wednesday, 23 October, until Friday, 25 October 2019, at the same venue.

Download agenda and information (CL No. 3936) on the Fourth session of the Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Ad Hoc Working Group on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Related Matters, to be held in Torremolinos, Málaga, Spain (23-25 October 2019). 

 Why the Cape Town Agreement is needed

Fishing is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. It is estimated that thousands of fishers lose their lives every year. IMO has been working for many years, alongside other stakeholders, to enhance fishing vessel safety – and save lives at sea. This work also contributes to the battle against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. 

But the key IMO treaty covering fishing vessel safety is not yet in force.  The lack of an international mandatory regime makes it harder for effective control and monitoring of fishing vessel safety standards. 

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement is an internationally-binding instrument which will provide that regime. The  Agreement includes mandatory international requirements for stability and associated seaworthiness, machinery and electrical installations, life-saving appliances, communications equipment and fire protection, as well as fishing vessel construction. 

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement is aimed at facilitating better control of fishing vessel safety by flag, port and coastal States. It is also expected to contribute to the fight against IUU fishing.

The treaty will enter into force 12 months after at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over operating on the high seas have expressed their consent to be bound by it.

To date (July 2019), 11 countries have ratified the Cape Town Agreement: Belgium, Congo, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa and Spain. Between them, they have an aggregate of 1,413 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over operating on the high seas.

Read more here.

 Is there a link between safe fishing and the UN SDGS?

​Yes. Ensuring safe and sustainable fishing is clearly linked with the achievement of the targets of UN SDG 14 on the oceans. 

There are also clear links with other UN SDGs, including those relating to poverty, hunger, education and training, infrastructure and partnerships. 

The IMO Torremolinos Conference will support these goals. 

Seafood is a highly-sought after and nutritious meal for millions of people across the world - and an essential food protein in many developing countries. 

 Practical information for delegates

​The high‑level Ministerial Segment will take place on Monday, 21 October 2019. This will be followed by the main Conference Programme.  

All delegates and observers attending the Conference will be invited to observe the Ministerial Segment and participate in the main Conference Programme, which will include presentations and panel discussions on the various topics to be addressed by the Conference.

The Conference is intended for ministers, policymakers, senior officials and relevant experts responsible for implementing fishing vessel safety and IUU fishing policies and enacting national legislation to ratify the Agreement. Given that fishing matters are often managed by more than one Government entity (e.g. fisheries, maritime, transport, etc.), Governments are encouraged to nominate at least two participants, representing the ministries and Government agencies responsible for ratifying and implementing the Agreement. 

The Conference will be followed by a meeting of the Joint FAO/IMO Working Group on IUU Fishing, to be held after the Conference concludes on Wednesday, 23 October, until Friday, 25 October 2019, at the same venue.

Information on how to register for Member States, IGOs and NGOs in consultative status with IMO is contained in Circular Letter No.3932 on the IMODOCS website, and/or by sending an email to fvs[@]imo.org.

 Media access

​Bonafide media are invited to attend the Conference. 

Arrangements will be made for access to the main programme and for interviews.

Media interested in attending should contact media[@]imo.org in the first instance.