Fully endorsing these initiatives, the Italian government, through its Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture, asked FAO to implement a project to initiate the work of adoption of the Code for what refers to Aquaculture Development in the countries belonging to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and offered to finance it.
An Expert Consultation was held in FAO headquarters in Rome in June 2000. The main outcome was the adoption on an Action Plan based on five major elements, namely to:
- improve comprehension and widespread capillary adoption of the Code in the Mediterranean Region;
- improve planning processes for aquaculture development and resource use;
- enhance harmonization between aquaculture development and environmental conservation;
- utilize the Code as a means of upgrading the economic value of aquaculture, and
- use the principles of the CCRF to improve and stabilize trade in aquaculture products in the Mediterranean region.
The process of regionalization of the Code is now based on priorities selected by the countries both individually for what concerns the national activities to be carried out and as a group for what refers to regional activities. The Action Plan as designed, in spite of a certain degree of overlap between elements (which would also be desirable), creates a proper framework for the activities of the GFCM Committee on Aquaculture and its associated networks.
In order to guarantee a follow-up of the Consultation, the Secretariat of the GFCM has already contacted possible interested donors and is negotiating future support to the implementation of the Action Plan issued from the Consultation. The main duty of the GFCM Committee on Aquaculture will be to promote and coordinate the regional activities and within a regional framework to provide assistance and advice to subregional and national activities in support of the adoption of the principles of the Code. However, there is no sense in starting regional activities if the countries do not promote the adoption and adaptation of the Code at national level. The role of FAO should be mainly to guarantee a regional uniformity in the application of the Code.