The Committee on Fisheries (COFI) is a subsidiary body of the FAO Council. The Committee constitutes the only global inter-governmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture issues are examined, and recommendations addressed to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fish workers, FAO and the international community. COFI has also been used as a forum in which global agreements and non-binding instruments were negotiated.
The Committee supplements rather than supplants other organisations working in the field of fisheries and aquaculture.
The two main functions of COFI are 1) to review the programmes of work of FAO in the field of fisheries and aquaculture and their implementation, and 2) to conduct periodic general reviews of fishery and aquaculture problems of an international character and appraise such problems and their possible solutions with a view to concerted action by nations. The Committee also reviews specific matters relating to fisheries and aquaculture referred to it by the Council or the Director-General of FAO, or placed by the Committee on its agenda at the request of Members, or the United Nations General Assembly.
COFI may establish sub-committees on certain specific issues that meet in the intercessional period of the parent Committee:
• COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade
• COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture
COFI membership is open to any FAO Member and non-member eligible to be an observer of the Organisation. Representatives of the UN, UN bodies and specialised agencies, regional fishery bodies, international and international non-governmental organisations participate in the debate, but without the right to vote.
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