The International Co-operative Fisheries Organisation (ICFO) was originally founded in 1966, as a sub-committee of the ICA's Agricultural Committee. It became an independent body in 1976 and was known as the ICA Fisheries Committee. The Chairman of the sub-committee of fisheries under the Agriculture Committee was Mr. Pierre Lacour, President of Confederation de la Cooperation de la Mutualite et du Crdedit Maritimes (CCMCM) of France.
The sub-committee of fisheries became independent in 1976, and Mr. Jirozaemon Saito, the then board member of National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations (ZENGYOREN) of Japan was elected as the first Chairman of the independent Fisheries Committee of ICA. (The international co-operative fisheries organization of ICA was called "Fisheries Committee of ICA" in those days.)
On 16 November, 2009, at the annual general meeting of ICFO held in Geneva, Switzerland, Mr. Ikuhiro Hattori (president of National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, JF ZENGYOREN), the third Chairman of ICFO, retired from the Chairmanship. Mr. Lee Jong Koo, president of National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives (KNFC), South Korea, was elected as the fourth Chairman.
On 2 November 2013, at the annual general meeting of ICFO held in Cape Town, South Africa, Mr Lee Jong koo was reelected as the fifth Chairman of ICFO. On 24 March 2015, the term of Mr. Lee Jong kooas president of Korean National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives came to an end. Thus,Mr. Lee Jong koo stepped down from his position in ICFO. On 25 March 2015, Pursuant to Article 8 of ICFO, Mr. Kim Imkweon, who was newly elected on 16 February as the 24th president of Korean National Federation of Fisheries cooperatives succeeded former chairman, Mr. Lee Jong koo as the sixth Chairman of ICFO.(see the following list of chairman in chronological order.)
The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) is an independent, non-governmental organisation established in 1895 to unite, represent and serve co-operatives worldwide. It provides a global voice and forum for knowledge, expertise and co-ordinated action for and about co-operatives.
ICA's members are international and national co-operative organisations from all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, banking, consumer, fisheries, health, housing, insurance, and workers. ICA has members from one hundred countries, representing one billion individuals worldwide. One hundred million people work for a co-operative locally.
The dynamic force of European farmers and their cooperatives
When the Treaty of Rome was signed on 25 March 1957, it already contained the most important framework provisions establishing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
In recognition of the importance of the agricultural sector, the EU Commission expressed its desire for close cooperation with its representatives at an early stage and invited national agricultural organisations to attend the 1958 Stresa Conference as observers.
In response, the first European organisation representing farmers, COPA (Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations), was created on 6 September 1958.
Shortly after, on 24 September 1959, the national agricultural cooperative organisations created their European umbrella organisation – COGECA (General Committee for Agricultural Cooperation in the European Union) – which also includes fisheries cooperatives.
COGECA's Secretariat merged with that of COPA on 1 December 1962.
When COGECA was created it was made up of 6 members. Since then, it has been enlarged by almost six and now has 35 full members and 4 affiliated members from the EU. COGECA also has 36 partner members.
In line with the recent European Union enlargements, COPA and COGECA have together further reinforced their position as Europe’s strongest farming representative organisations. COPA and COGECA have jointly welcomed 38 national farmer and cooperative organisations from the new Member States.
Overall membership of both organisations has thus risen to 76 organisations from the EU Member States.
COGECA, now called the "General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union", currently represents the general and specific interests of some 40,000 farmers’ cooperatives employing some 660,000 people and with a global annual turnover in excess of three hundred billion euros throughout the enlarged Europe. Since its creation, COGECA has been recognised by the European Institutions as the main representative body and indeed the spokesman for the entire agricultural and fisheries cooperative sector.
Fishing cooperatives are active in numerous areas, such as victualling, vessel management and insurance, the fish trade, as well as the marketing and processing of fish.
Maritime cooperation in Europe also includes cooperative ship-owners, whose main objective is still to help bring young people into the profession.