A U.S. government delegation with representatives from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) participated in and sponsored several side events during the bi-annual UN Food and Agriculture Organization – Committee on Fisheries week (FAO-COFI). COFI, a subsidiary body of the FAO Council, was established by the FAO Conference at its Thirteenth Session in 1965. The Committee presently constitutes the only global inter-governmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture problems and issues are examined and recommendations are addressed to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fishworkers, FAO and international community, periodically on a world-wide basis. COFI has also been used as a forum in which global agreements and non-binding instruments were negotiated.
The first U.S.-sponsored side event, held on January 31, discussed intentional and unintentional damage to moored data buoys in International Waters. The issue was brought to FAO-COFI because certain seas fishing activities are having adverse impacts on moored buoys. The issue is of grave importance because the buoys being impacted include buoys that detect and give warning for tsunamis; as well as others that collect marine and atmospheric data; weather forecasts ( warnings of typhoons and hurricanes); support fishing operations; climate change research; and search and rescue operations. During the second event held on February 3, the U.S. hosted a discussion on preparations for Kobe III, which will take place during the week of July 11-15 in San Diego, California. Kobe III will be the third joint tuna regional fisheries management organizations meeting.