In the 1980s, the European fisheries development advisors met for the first time, in Brussels. The main purpose of the meeting was to establish a network of fisheries development experts in the EU Member States and neighbouring countries, in order to exchange information and expertise and to strengthen European co-operation in the field of international fisheries development cooperation. This objective is still valid. Over the last decade, the meetings of EFDAN have become a more open international forum, gathering not only national development agencies and ministries, but also multilateral organisations, including the European Commission, development banks, knowledge institutions and civil society.
The network meets regularly (approx. once a year) to discuss and exchange information on topical issues in the field of fisheries and development co-operation, ongoing activities, and possibilities for improved co-operation under ongoing and planned development projects. The network is informal and as such does not have an official mandate. Participants from bilateral development agencies and ministries do not officially represent the views of their governments with regard to fisheries development and corresponding policies, but participate as experts/advisors. However, the EFDAN participants provide strategic and technical advice to their respective organisations on relevant processes, primarily within the EU and the FAO. The network can, for example, assist in developing joint positions, e.g. with regard to the ongoing reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). It also mobilises and invites resource persons from developing countries with whom information can be shared.
The Co-Fish website was originally created in support of the Fisheries Development Advisors’ meeting of 2008, but has developed into an inter-active knowledge platform combining existing information networks and partner institutions working in the fisheries sector, primarily in West Africa. All information from previous EFDAN meetings (from 2008 onward) can be found here.