Although fishery production in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for over 63 percent of the world production, continues to rise, a study conducted by FAO on the sustainable contribution of fisheries to food security points to alarming shortages in the near future in a number of sub-regions of this vast area of the world.
In response to this challenge, the 16 members of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) unanimously agreed during their Twenty-sixth Session in Beijing (1997) that the Commission, despite budgetary constraints, should continue into the next millennium and endeavour to assist the members to move closer towards sustainable fishery development and management.
Five years later, the Commission is now not just continuing but intensifying its efforts and activities and embarking on a new chapter in its attempt to respond effectively to the changing requirements in fisheries.
A ?Regional Consultative Forum? will now be an integral activity of the Commission. To facilitate the work of the forum, the APFIC Secretariat has launched a website and published a handbook on regional and sub-regional fishery bodies and arrangements for the benefit of the APFIC Members. The APFIC website
will link members to other organizations and projects that have an impact on fisheries and aquaculture in the region.
This handbook provides a convenient summary of those bodies and arrangements concerned with sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development in the region. Some of the members of these bodies and arrangements are also members of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
I trust that this handbook will serve as a useful tool for interested readers. I sincerely hope that the handbook will contribute to the success of the new chapter of APFIC.
Indeed, with substantive contributions and inputs from its members, numerous development and technical partners such as regional fishery organizations, NGOs and other segments of civil society, the Commission offers a unique forum for an Asia-Pacific regional prospective on the outlook and policy implications of fishery in the years to come. This way, FAO is offering an indispensable service for whoever in even remotely interested in fishery and world trends.