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FAO Workshop Discusses Global Database for Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems

FAOJanuary 2013: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released the Report of the FAO Workshop for the Development of a Global Database for Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs). The workshop aimed to: determine the type of data and information needed to facilitate decision making for RFMO/As, States and industry in relation to the management of impacts on VMEs; and determine options and a strategy for developing the FAO VME database based on stakeholder input.

The meeting was held at the headquarters of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) in Rome, Italy, from 7-9 December 2011. The workshop report, which is published as FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report. No. 1018, indicates that the meeting brought together a range of stakeholders, participating in their personal capacity, including representatives of regional fisheries management organizations and arrangements (RFMO/As), intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and scientific institutes.

Participants discussed: an overview of RFMO/As VME-related activities; an overview of industry perspectives and inputs; experiences in VME-related databases; tools and frameworks for the database; and VME database options, priorities and a road-map.

Workshop recommendations address the need to, inter alia: identify and collate data; include regional fisheries management organizations and arrangements (RFMO/A) decisions and management measures in the VME database; validate, attribute and document information; include both fisheries dependent and fisheries-independent data in the database; provide different mechanisms within and outside of RFMO/As; define data sharing policies and confidentiality aspects; reflect the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolutions and the FAO Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas (DSF Guidelines) in inputs; ensure a scientific basis to the validation process; and classify fishing gears. [Report of the FAO Workshop for the Development of a Global Database for Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems]