FAO, Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995)
From ancient times, fishing has been a major source of food
for humanity and a provider of employment and economic benefits to those engaged
in this activity. The wealth of aquatic resources was assumed to be an unlimited
gift of nature. However, with increased knowledge and the dynamic development of
fisheries after the second world war, this myth has faded in face of the
realization that aquatic resources, although renewable, are not infinite and
need to be properly managed, if their contribution to the nutritional, economic
and social well-being of the growing world's population is to be sustained.
The widespread introduction in the mid-seventies of exclusive
economic zones (EEZs) and the adoption in 1982, after long deliberations, of the
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provided a new framework for the
better management of marine resources. The new legal regime of the ocean gave
coastal States rights and responsibilities for the management and use of fishery
resources within their EEZs which embrace some 90 percent of the world's marine
fisheries. Such extended national jurisdiction was a necessary but insufficient
step toward the efficient management and sustainable development of fisheries.
Many coastal States continued to face serious challenges as, lacking experience
and financial and physical resources, they sought to extract greater benefits
from the fisheries within their EEZs.
In recent years, world fisheries have become a market-driven,
dynamically developing sector of the food industry and coastal States have
striven to take advantage of their new opportunities by investing in modern
fishing fleets and processing factories in response to growing international
demand for fish and fishery products. By the late 1980s it became clear,
however, that fisheries resources could no longer sustain such rapid and often
uncontrolled exploitation and development, and that new approaches to fisheries
management embracing conservation and environmental considerations were urgently
needed. The situation was aggravated by the realization that unregulated
fisheries on the high seas, in some cases involving straddling and highly
migratory fish species, which occur within and outside EEZs, were becoming a
matter of increasing concern.
The Committee on Fisheries (COFI) at its Nineteenth Session
in March 1991 called for the development of new concepts which would lead to
responsible, sustained fisheries. Subsequently, the International Conference on
Responsible Fishing, held in 1992 in Cancūn (Mexico) further requested FAO to
prepare an international Code of Conduct to address these concerns. The outcome
of this Conference, particularly the Declaration of Cancūn, was an important
contribution to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED), in particular its Agenda 21. Subsequently, the United
Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks
was convened, to which FAO provided important technical back-up. In November
1993, the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and
Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas was adopted at the
Twenty-seventh Session of the FAO Conference (Annex 1).
Noting these and other important developments in world
fisheries, the FAO Governing Bodies recommended the formulation of a global Code
of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries which would be consistent with these
instruments and, in a non-mandatory manner, establish principles and standards
applicable to the conservation, management and development of all fisheries. The
Code, which was unanimously adopted on 31 October 1995 by the FAO Conference,
provides a necessary framework for national and international efforts to ensure
sustainable exploitation of aquatic living resources in harmony with the
environment (Annex 2).
FAO, in accordance with its mandate, is fully committed to
assisting Member States, particularly developing countries, in the efficient
implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and will report
to the United Nations community on the progress achieved and further action
Fisheries, including aquaculture, provide a vital source of
food, employment, recreation, trade and economic well being for people
throughout the world, both for present and future generations and should
therefore be conducted in a responsible manner. This Code sets out principles
and international standards of behaviour for responsible practices with a view
to ensuring the effective conservation, management and development of living
aquatic resources, with due respect for the ecosystem and biodiversity. The Code
recognises the nutritional, economic, social, environmental and cultural
importance of fisheries, and the interests of all those concerned with the
fishery sector. The Code takes into account the biological characteristics of
the resources and their environment and the interests of consumers and other
users. States and all those involved in fisheries are encouraged to apply the
Code and give effect to it.
1 - NATURE AND SCOPE OF THE CODE
1.1 This Code is voluntary. However, certain parts of it are
based on relevant rules of international law, including those reflected in the
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982
The Code also contains provisions that may be or have already been given binding
effect by means of other obligatory legal instruments amongst the Parties, such
as the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and
Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas, 1993, which, according
to FAO Conference resolution 15/93, paragraph 3, forms an integral part of the
1.2 The Code is global in scope, and is directed toward members and non-members
of FAO, fishing entities, subregional, regional and global organizations,
whether governmental or non-governmental, and all persons concerned with the
conservation of fishery resources and management and development of fisheries,
such as fishers, those engaged in processing and marketing of fish and fishery
products and other users of the aquatic environment in relation to fisheries.
1.3 The Code provides principles and standards applicable to the conservation,
management and development of all fisheries. It also covers the capture,
processing and trade of fish and fishery products, fishing operations,
aquaculture, fisheries research and the integration of fisheries into coastal
1.4 In this Code, the reference to States includes the European Community in
matters within its competence, and the term fisheries applies equally to capture
fisheries and aquaculture.
ARTICLE 2 - OBJECTIVES OF THE CODE
The objectives of the Code are to:
a. establish principles, in accordance with the relevant
rules of international law, for responsible fishing and fisheries activities,
taking into account all their relevant biological, technological, economic,
social, environmental and commercial aspects;
b. establish principles and criteria for the elaboration and
implementation of national policies for responsible conservation of fisheries
resources and fisheries management and development;
c. serve as an instrument of reference to help States to
establish or to improve the legal and institutional framework required for the
exercise of responsible fisheries and in the formulation and implementation of
d. provide guidance which may be used where appropriate in
the formulation and implementation of international agreements and other legal
instruments, both binding and voluntary;
e. facilitate and promote technical, financial and other
cooperation in conservation of fisheries resources and fisheries management and
f. promote the contribution of fisheries to food security and
food quality, giving priority to the nutritional needs of local communities;
g. promote protection of living aquatic resources and their
environments and coastal areas;
h. promote the trade of fish and fishery products in
conformity with relevant international rules and avoid the use of measures that
constitute hidden barriers to such trade;
i. promote research on fisheries as well as on associated
ecosystems and relevant environmental factors; and
j. provide standards of conduct for all persons involved in
the fisheries sector.
3 - RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS
3.1 The Code is to be interpreted and applied in conformity
with the relevant rules of international law, as reflected in the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982. Nothing in this Code prejudices the
rights, jurisdiction and duties of States under international law as reflected
in the Convention.
3.2 The Code is also to be interpreted and applied:
a. in a manner consistent with the relevant provisions of the
Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the
Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish
b. in accordance with other applicable rules of international
law, including the respective obligations of States pursuant to international
agreements to which they are party; and
c. in the light of the 1992 Declaration of Cancun, the 1992
Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and Agenda 21 adopted by the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in particular
Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, and other relevant declarations and international
4 - IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND UPDATING
4.1 All members and non-members of FAO, fishing entities and
relevant subregional, regional and global organizations, whether governmental or
non-governmental, and all persons concerned with the conservation, management
and utilization of fisheries resources and trade in fish and fishery products
should collaborate in the fulfilment and implementation of the objectives and
principles contained in this Code.
4.2 FAO, in accordance with its role within the United Nations system, will
monitor the application and implementation of the Code and its effects on
fisheries and the Secretariat will report accordingly to the Committee on
Fisheries (COFI). All States, whether members or non-members of FAO, as well as
relevant international organizations, whether governmental or non-governmental
should actively cooperate with FAO in this work.
4.3 FAO, through its competent bodies, may revise the Code, taking into account
developments in fisheries as well as reports to COFI on the implementation of
4.4 States and international organizations, whether governmental or
non-governmental, should promote the understanding of the Code among those
involved in fisheries, including, where practicable, by the introduction of
schemes which would promote voluntary acceptance of the Code and its effective
5 - SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
5.1 The capacity of developing countries to implement the
recommendations of this Code should be duly taken into account.
5.2 In order to achieve the objectives of this Code and to support its effective
implementation, countries, relevant international organizations, whether
governmental or non-governmental, and financial institutions should give full
recognition to the special circumstances and requirements of developing
countries, including in particular the least-developed among them, and small
island developing countries. States, relevant intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations and financial institutions should work for the
adoption of measures to address the needs of developing countries, especially in
the areas of financial and technical assistance, technology transfer, training
and scientific cooperation and in enhancing their ability to develop their own
fisheries as well as to participate in high seas fisheries, including access to
6 - GENERAL PRINCIPLES
6.1 States and users of living aquatic resources should
conserve aquatic ecosystems. The right to fish carries with it the obligation to
do so in a responsible manner so as to ensure effective conservation and
management of the living aquatic resources.
6.2 Fisheries management should promote the maintenance of the quality,
diversity and availability of fishery resources in sufficient quantities for
present and future generations in the context of food security, poverty
alleviation and sustainable development. Management measures should not only
ensure the conservation of target species but also of species belonging to the
same ecosystem or associated with or dependent upon the target species.
6.3 States should prevent overfishing and excess fishing capacity and should
implement management measures to ensure that fishing effort is commensurate with
the productive capacity of the fishery resources and their sustainable
utilization. States should take measures to rehabilitate populations as far as
possible and when appropriate.
6.4 Conservation and management decisions for fisheries should be based on the
best scientific evidence available, also taking into account traditional
knowledge of the resources and their habitat, as well as relevant environmental,
economic and social factors. States should assign priority to undertake research
and data collection in order to improve scientific and technical knowledge of
fisheries including their interaction with the ecosystem. In recognizing the
transboundary nature of many aquatic ecosystems, States should encourage
bilateral and multilateral cooperation in research, as appropriate.
6.5 States and subregional and regional fisheries management organizations
should apply a precautionary approach widely to conservation, management and
exploitation of living aquatic resources in order to protect them and preserve
the aquatic environment, taking account of the best scientific evidence
available. The absence of adequate scientific information should not be used as
a reason for postponing or failing to take measures to conserve target species,
associated or dependent species and non-target species and their environment.
6.6 Selective and environmentally safe fishing gear and practices should be
further developed and applied, to the extent practicable, in order to maintain
biodiversity and to conserve the population structure and aquatic ecosystems and
protect fish quality. Where proper selective and environmentally safe fishing
gear and practices exist, they should be recognized and accorded a priority in
establishing conservation and management measures for fisheries. States and
users of aquatic ecosystems should minimize waste, catch of non-target species,
both fish and non-fish species, and impacts on associated or dependent species.
6.7 The harvesting, handling, processing and distribution of fish and fishery
products should be carried out in a manner which will maintain the nutritional
value, quality and safety of the products, reduce waste and minimize negative
impacts on the environment.
6.8 All critical fisheries habitats in marine and fresh water ecosystems, such
as wetlands, mangroves, reefs, lagoons, nursery and spawning areas, should be
protected and rehabilitated as far as possible and where necessary. Particular
effort should be made to protect such habitats from destruction, degradation,
pollution and other significant impacts resulting from human activities that
threaten the health and viability of the fishery resources.
6.9 States should ensure that their fisheries interests, including the need for
conservation of the resources, are taken into account in the multiple uses of
the coastal zone and are integrated into coastal area management, planning and
6.10 Within their respective competences and in accordance with international
law, including within the framework of subregional or regional fisheries
conservation and management organizations or arrangements, States should ensure
compliance with and enforcement of conservation and management measures and
establish effective mechanisms, as appropriate, to monitor and control the
activities of fishing vessels and fishing support vessels.
6.11 States authorizing fishing and fishing support vessels to fly their flags
should exercise effective control over those vessels so as to ensure the proper
application of this Code. They should ensure that the activities of such vessels
do not undermine the effectiveness of conservation and management measures taken
in accordance with international law and adopted at the national, subregional,
regional or global levels. States should also ensure that vessels flying their
flags fulfil their obligations concerning the collection and provision of data
relating to their fishing activities.
6.12 States should, within their respective competences and in accordance with
international law, cooperate at subregional, regional and global levels through
fisheries management organizations, other international agreements or other
arrangements to promote conservation and management, ensure responsible fishing
and ensure effective conservation and protection of living aquatic resources
throughout their range of distribution, taking into account the need for
compatible measures in areas within and beyond national jurisdiction.
6.13 States should, to the extent permitted by national laws and regulations,
ensure that decision making processes are transparent and achieve timely
solutions to urgent matters. States, in accordance with appropriate procedures,
should facilitate consultation and the effective participation of industry,
fishworkers, environmental and other interested organizations in decision making
with respect to the development of laws and policies related to fisheries
management, development, international lending and aid.
6.14 International trade in fish and fishery products should be conducted in
accordance with the principles, rights and obligations established in the World
Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement and other relevant international agreements.
States should ensure that their policies, programmes and practices related to
trade in fish and fishery products do not result in obstacles to this trade,
environmental degradation or negative social, including nutritional, impacts.
6.15 States should cooperate in order to prevent disputes. All disputes relating
to fishing activities and practices should be resolved in a timely, peaceful and
cooperative manner, in accordance with applicable international agreements or as
may otherwise be agreed between the parties. Pending settlement of a dispute,
the States concerned should make every effort to enter into provisional
arrangements of a practical nature which should be without prejudice to the
final outcome of any dispute settlement procedure.
6.16 States, recognising the paramount importance to fishers and fishfarmers of
understanding the conservation and management of the fishery resources on which
they depend, should promote awareness of responsible fisheries through education
and training. They should ensure that fishers and fishfarmers are involved in
the policy formulation and implementation process, also with a view to
facilitating the implementation of the Code.
6.17 States should ensure that fishing facilities and equipment as well as all
fisheries activities allow for safe, healthy and fair working and living
conditions and meet internationally agreed standards adopted by relevant
6.18 Recognizing the important contributions of artisanal and small- scale
fisheries to employment, income and food security, States should appropriately
protect the rights of fishers and fishworkers, particularly those engaged in
subsistence, small-scale and artisanal fisheries, to a secure and just
livelihood, as well as preferential access, where appropriate, to traditional
fishing grounds and resources in the waters under their national jurisdiction.
6.19 States should consider aquaculture, including culture-based fisheries, as a
means to promote diversification of income and diet. In so doing, States should
ensure that resources are used responsibly and adverse impacts on the
environment and on local communities are minimized.
7 - FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
7.1.1 States and all those engaged in fisheries management
should, through an appropriate policy, legal and institutional framework, adopt
measures for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of fisheries
resources. Conservation and management measures, whether at local, national,
subregional or regional levels, should be based on the best scientific evidence
available and be designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of fishery
resources at levels which promote the objective of their optimum utilization and
maintain their availability for present and future generations; short term
considerations should not compromise these objectives.
7.1.2 Within areas under national jurisdiction, States should seek to identify
relevant domestic parties having a legitimate interest in the use and management
of fisheries resources and establish arrangements for consulting them to gain
their collaboration in achieving responsible fisheries.
7.1.3 For transboundary fish stocks, straddling fish stocks, highly migratory
fish stocks and high seas fish stocks, where these are exploited by two or more
States, the States concerned, including the relevant coastal States in the case
of straddling and highly migratory stocks, should cooperate to ensure effective
conservation and management of the resources. This should be achieved, where
appropriate, through the establishment of a bilateral, subregional or regional
fisheries organization or arrangement.
7.1.4 A subregional or regional fisheries management organization or arrangement
should include representatives of States in whose jurisdictions the resources
occur, as well as representatives from States which have a real interest in the
fisheries on the resources outside national jurisdictions. Where a subregional
or regional fisheries management organization or arrangement exists and has the
competence to establish conservation and management measures, those States
should cooperate by becoming a member of such organization or a participant in
such arrangement, and actively participate in its work.
7.1.5 A State which is not a member of a subregional or regional fisheries
management organization or is not a participant in a subregional or regional
fisheries management arrangement should nevertheless cooperate, in accordance
with relevant international agreements and international law, in the
conservation and management of the relevant fisheries resources by giving effect
to any conservation and management measures adopted by such organization or
7.1.6 Representatives from relevant organizations, both governmental and
non-governmental, concerned with fisheries should be afforded the opportunity to
take part in meetings of subregional and regional fisheries management
organizations and arrangements as observers or otherwise, as appropriate, in
accordance with the procedures of the organization or arrangement concerned.
Such representatives should be given timely access to the records and reports of
such meetings, subject to the procedural rules on access to them.
7.1.7 States should establish, within their respective competences and
capacities, effective mechanisms for fisheries monitoring, surveillance, control
and enforcement to ensure compliance with their conservation and management
measures, as well as those adopted by subregional or regional organizations or
7.1.8 States should take measures to prevent or eliminate excess fishing
capacity and should ensure that levels of fishing effort are commensurate with
the sustainable use of fishery resources as a means of ensuring the
effectiveness of conservation and management measures.
7.1.9 States and subregional or regional fisheries management organizations and
arrangements should ensure transparency in the mechanisms for fisheries
management and in the related decision-making process.
7.1.10 States and subregional or regional fisheries management organizations and
arrangements should give due publicity to conservation and management measures
and ensure that laws, regulations and other legal rules governing their
implementation are effectively disseminated. The bases and purposes of such
measures should be explained to users of the resource in order to facilitate
their application and thus gain increased support in the implementation of such
7.2 Management objectives
7.2.1 Recognizing that long-term sustainable use of fisheries
resources is the overriding objective of conservation and management, States and
subregional or regional fisheries management organizations and arrangements
should, inter alia, adopt appropriate measures, based on the best scientific
evidence available, which are designed to maintain or restore stocks at levels
capable of producing maximum sustainable yield, as qualified by relevant
environmental and economic factors, including the special requirements of
7.2.2 Such measures should provide inter alia that:
a. excess fishing capacity is avoided and exploitation of the
stocks remains economically viable;
b. the economic conditions under which fishing industries
operate promote responsible fisheries;
c. the interests of fishers, including those engaged in
subsistence, small-scale and artisanal fisheries, are taken into account;
d. biodiversity of aquatic habitats and ecosystems is
conserved and endangered species are protected;
e. depleted stocks are allowed to recover or, where
appropriate, are actively restored;
f. adverse environmental impacts on the resources from human
activities are assessed and, where appropriate, corrected; and
g. pollution, waste, discards, catch by lost or abandoned
gear, catch of non-target species, both fish and non- fish species, and impacts
on associated or dependent species are minimized, through measures including, to
the extent practicable, the development and use of selective, environmentally
safe and cost-effective fishing gear and techniques.
7.2.3 States should assess the impacts of environmental factors on target stocks
and species belonging to the same ecosystem or associated with or dependent upon
the target stocks, and assess the relationship among the populations in the
7.3 Management framework and procedures
7.3.1 To be effective, fisheries management should be
concerned with the whole stock unit over its entire area of distribution and
take into account previously agreed management measures established and applied
in the same region, all removals and the biological unity and other biological
characteristics of the stock. The best scientific evidence available should be
used to determine, inter alia, the area of distribution of the resource and the
area through which it migrates during its life cycle.
7.3.2 In order to conserve and manage transboundary fish stocks, straddling fish
stocks, highly migratory fish stocks and high seas fish stocks throughout their
range, conservation and management measures established for such stocks in
accordance with the respective competences of relevant States or, where
appropriate, through subregional and regional fisheries management organizations
and arrangements, should be compatible. Compatibility should be achieved in a
manner consistent with the rights, competences and interests of the States
7.3.3 Long-term management objectives should be translated into management
actions, formulated as a fishery management plan or other management framework.
7.3.4 States and, where appropriate, subregional or regional fisheries
management organizations and arrangements should foster and promote
international cooperation and coordination in all matters related to fisheries,
including information gathering and exchange, fisheries research, management and
7.3.5 States seeking to take any action through a non-fishery organization which
may affect the conservation and management measures taken by a competent
subregional or regional fisheries management organization or arrangement should
consult with the latter, in advance to the extent practicable, and take its
views into account.
7.4 Data gathering and management advice
7.4.1 When considering the adoption of conservation and management measures, the
best scientific evidence available should be taken into account in order to
evaluate the current state of the fishery resources and the possible impact of
the proposed measures on the resources.
7.4.2 Research in support of fishery conservation and management should be
promoted, including research on the resources and on the effects of climatic,
environmental and socio-economic factors. The results of such research should be
disseminated to interested parties.
7.4.3 Studies should be promoted which provide an understanding of the costs,
benefits and effects of alternative management options designed to rationalize
fishing, in particular, options relating to excess fishing capacity and
excessive levels of fishing effort.
7.4.4 States should ensure that timely, complete and reliable statistics on
catch and fishing effort are collected and maintained in accordance with
applicable international standards and practices and in sufficient detail to
allow sound statistical analysis. Such data should be updated regularly and
verified through an appropriate system. States should compile and disseminate
such data in a manner consistent with any applicable confidentiality
7.4.5 In order to ensure sustainable management of fisheries and to enable
social and economic objectives to be achieved, sufficient knowledge of social,
economic and institutional factors should be developed through data gathering,
analysis and research.
7.4.6 States should compile fishery-related and other supporting scientific data
relating to fish stocks covered by subregional or regional fisheries management
organizations or arrangements in an internationally agreed format and provide
them in a timely manner to the organization or arrangement. In cases of stocks
which occur in the jurisdiction of more than one State and for which there is no
such organization or arrangement, the States concerned should agree on a
mechanism for cooperation to compile and exchange such data.
7.4.7 Subregional or regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements
should compile data and make them available, in a manner consistent with any
applicable confidentiality requirements, in a timely manner and in an agreed
format to all members of these organizations and other interested parties in
accordance with agreed procedures.
7.5 Precautionary approach
7.5.1 States should apply the precautionary approach widely to conservation,
management and exploitation of living aquatic resources in order to protect them
and preserve the aquatic environment. The absence of adequate scientific
information should not be used as a reason for postponing or failing to take
conservation and management measures.
7.5.2 In implementing the precautionary approach, States should take into
account, inter alia, uncertainties relating to the size and productivity of the
stocks, reference points, stock condition in relation to such reference points,
levels and distribution of fishing mortality and the impact of fishing
activities, including discards, on non-target and associated or dependent
species, as well as environmental and socio-economic conditions.
7.5.3 States and subregional or regional fisheries management organizations and
arrangements should, on the basis of the best scientific evidence available,
inter alia, determine:
a. stock specific target reference points, and, at the same
time, the action to be taken if they are exceeded; and
b. stock-specific limit reference points, and, at the same
time, the action to be taken if they are exceeded; when a limit reference point
is approached, measures should be taken to ensure that it will not be exceeded.
7.5.4 In the case of new or exploratory fisheries, States should adopt as soon
as possible cautious conservation and management measures, including, inter alia,
catch limits and effort limits. Such measures should remain in force until there
are sufficient data to allow assessment of the impact of the fisheries on the
long-term sustainability of the stocks, whereupon conservation and management
measures based on that assessment should be implemented. The latter measures
should, if appropriate, allow for the gradual development of the fisheries.
7.5.5 If a natural phenomenon has a significant adverse impact on the status of
living aquatic resources, States should adopt conservation and management
measures on an emergency basis to ensure that fishing activity does not
exacerbate such adverse impact. States should also adopt such measures on an
emergency basis where fishing activity presents a serious threat to the
sustainability of such resources. Measures taken on an emergency basis should be
temporary and should be based on the best scientific evidence available.
7.6 Management measures
7.6.1 States should ensure that the level of fishing
permitted is commensurate with the state of fisheries resources.
7.6.2 States should adopt measures to ensure that no vessel be allowed to fish
unless so authorized, in a manner consistent with international law for the high
seas or in conformity with national legislation within areas of national
7.6.3 Where excess fishing capacity exists, mechanisms should be established to
reduce capacity to levels commensurate with the sustainable use of fisheries
resources so as to ensure that fishers operate under economic conditions that
promote responsible fisheries. Such mechanisms should include monitoring the
capacity of fishing fleets.
7.6.4 The performance of all existing fishing gear, methods and practices should
be examined and measures taken to ensure that fishing gear, methods and
practices which are not consistent with responsible fishing are phased out and
replaced with more acceptable alternatives. In this process, particular
attention should be given to the impact of such measures on fishing communities,
including their ability to exploit the resource.
7.6.5 States and fisheries management organizations and arrangements should
regulate fishing in such a way as to avoid the risk of conflict among fishers
using different vessels, gear and fishing methods.
7.6.6 When deciding on the use, conservation and management of fisheries
resources, due recognition should be given, as appropriate, in accordance with
national laws and regulations, to the traditional practices, needs and interests
of indigenous people and local fishing communities which are highly dependent on
fishery resources for their livelihood.
7.6.7 In the evaluation of alternative conservation and management measures,
their cost-effectiveness and social impact should be considered.
7.6.8 The efficacy of conservation and management measures and their possible
interactions should be kept under continuous review. Such measures should, as
appropriate, be revised or abolished in the light of new information.
7.6.9 States should take appropriate measures to minimize waste, discards, catch
by lost or abandoned gear, catch of non-target species, both fish and non-fish
species, and negative impacts on associated or dependent species, in particular
endangered species. Where appropriate, such measures may include technical
measures related to fish size, mesh size or gear, discards, closed seasons and
areas and zones reserved for selected fisheries, particularly artisanal
fisheries. Such measures should be applied, where appropriate, to protect
juveniles and spawners. States and subregional or regional fisheries management
organizations and arrangements should promote, to the extent practicable, the
development and use of selective, environmentally safe and cost effective gear
7.6.10 States and subregional and regional fisheries management organizations
and arrangements, in the framework of their respective competences, should
introduce measures for depleted resources and those resources threatened with
depletion that facilitate the sustained recovery of such stocks. They should
make every effort to ensure that resources and habitats critical to the
well-being of such resources which have been adversely affected by fishing or
other human activities are restored.
7.7.1 States should ensure that an effective legal and
administrative framework at the local and national level, as appropriate, is
established for fisheries resource conservation and fisheries management.
7.7.2 States should ensure that laws and regulations provide for sanctions
applicable in respect of violations which are adequate in severity to be
effective, including sanctions which allow for the refusal, withdrawal or
suspension of authorizations to fish in the event of non-compliance with
conservation and management measures in force.
7.7.3 States, in conformity with their national laws, should implement effective
fisheries monitoring, control, surveillance and law enforcement measures
including, where appropriate, observer programmes, inspection schemes and vessel
monitoring systems. Such measures should be promoted and, where appropriate,
implemented by subregional or regional fisheries management organizations and
arrangements in accordance with procedures agreed by such organizations or
7.7.4 States and subregional or regional fisheries management organizations and
arrangements, as appropriate, should agree on the means by which the activities
of such organizations and arrangements will be financed, bearing in mind, inter
alia, the relative benefits derived from the fishery and the differing
capacities of countries to provide financial and other contributions. Where
appropriate, and when possible, such organizations and arrangements should aim
to recover the costs of fisheries conservation, management and research.
7.7.5 States which are members of or participants in subregional or regional
fisheries management organizations or arrangements should implement
internationally agreed measures adopted in the framework of such organizations
or arrangements and consistent with international law to deter the activities of
vessels flying the flag of non-members or non-participants which engage in
activities which undermine the effectiveness of conservation and management
measures established by such organizations or arrangements.
7.8 Financial institutions
7.8.1 Without prejudice to relevant international agreements,
States should encourage banks and financial institutions not to require, as a
condition of a loan or mortgage, fishing vessels or fishing support vessels to
be flagged in a jurisdiction other than that of the State of beneficial
ownership where such a requirement would have the effect of increasing the
likelihood of non-compliance with international conservation and management
8 - FISHING OPERATIONS
8.1 Duties of all States
8.1.1 States should ensure that only fishing operations
allowed by them are conducted within waters under their jurisdiction and that
these operations are carried out in a responsible manner.
8.1.2 States should maintain a record, updated at regular intervals, on all
authorizations to fish issued by them.
8.1.3 States should maintain, in accordance with recognized international
standards and practices, statistical data, updated at regular intervals, on all
fishing operations allowed by them.
8.1.4 States should, in accordance with international law, within the framework
of subregional or regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements,
cooperate to establish systems for monitoring, control, surveillance and
enforcement of applicable measures with respect to fishing operations and
related activities in waters outside their national jurisdiction.
8.1.5 States should ensure that health and safety standards are adopted for
everyone employed in fishing operations. Such standards should be not less than
the minimum requirements of relevant international agreements on conditions of
work and service.
8.1.6 States should make arrangements individually, together with other States
or with the appropriate international organization to integrate fishing
operations into maritime search and rescue systems.
8.1.7 States should enhance through education and training programmes the
education and skills of fishers and, where appropriate, their professional
qualifications. Such programmes should take into account agreed international
standards and guidelines.
8.1.8 States should, as appropriate, maintain records of fishers which should,
whenever possible, contain information on their service and qualifications,
including certificates of competency, in accordance with their national laws.
8.1.9 States should ensure that measures applicable in respect of masters and
other officers charged with an offence relating to the operation of fishing
vessels should include provisions which may permit, inter alia, refusal,
withdrawal or suspension of authorizations to serve as masters or officers of a
8.1.10 States, with the assistance of relevant international organizations,
should endeavour to ensure through education and training that all those engaged
in fishing operations be given information on the most important provisions of
this Code, as well as provisions of relevant international conventions and
applicable environmental and other standards that are essential to ensure
responsible fishing operations.
8.2 Flag State duties
8.2.1 Flag States should maintain records of fishing vessels
entitled to fly their flag and authorized to be used for fishing and should
indicate in such records details of the vessels, their ownership and
authorization to fish.
8.2.2 Flag States should ensure that no fishing vessels entitled to fly their
flag fish on the high seas or in waters under the jurisdiction of other States
unless such vessels have been issued with a Certificate of Registry and have
been authorized to fish by the competent authorities. Such vessels should carry
on board the Certificate of Registry and their authorization to fish.
8.2.3 Fishing vessels authorized to fish on the high seas or in waters under the
jurisdiction of a State other than the flag State, should be marked in
accordance with uniform and internationally recognizable vessel marking systems
such as the FAO Standard Specifications and Guidelines for Marking and
Identification of Fishing Vessels.
8.2.4 Fishing gear should be marked in accordance with national legislation in
order that the owner of the gear can be identified. Gear marking requirements
should take into account uniform and internationally recognizable gear marking
8.2.5 Flag States should ensure compliance with appropriate safety requirements
for fishing vessels and fishers in accordance with international conventions,
internationally agreed codes of practice and voluntary guidelines. States should
adopt appropriate safety requirements for all small vessels not covered by such
international conventions, codes of practice or voluntary guidelines.
8.2.6 States not party to the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International
Conservation and Management Measures by Vessels Fishing in the High Seas should
be encouraged to accept the Agreement and to adopt laws and regulations
consistent with the provisions of the Agreement.
8.2.7 Flag States should take enforcement measures in respect of fishing vessels
entitled to fly their flag which have been found by them to have contravened
applicable conservation and management measures, including, where appropriate,
making the contravention of such measures an offence under national legislation.
Sanctions applicable in respect of violations should be adequate in severity to
be effective in securing compliance and to discourage violations wherever they
occur and should deprive offenders of the benefits accruing from their illegal
activities. Such sanctions may, for serious violations, include provisions for
the refusal, withdrawal or suspension of the authorization to fish.
8.2.8 Flag States should promote access to insurance coverage by owners and
charterers of fishing vessels. Owners or charterers of fishing vessels should
carry sufficient insurance cover to protect the crew of such vessels and their
interests, to indemnify third parties against loss or damage and to protect
their own interests.
8.2.9 Flag States should ensure that crew members are entitled to repatriation,
taking account of the principles laid down in the "Repatriation of
Seafarers Convention (Revised), 1987, (No.166)".
8.2.10 In the event of an accident to a fishing vessel or persons on board a
fishing vessel, the flag State of the fishing vessel concerned should provide
details of the accident to the State of any foreign national on board the vessel
involved in the accident. Such information should also, where practicable, be
communicated to the International Maritime Organization.
8.3 Port State duties
8.3.1 Port States should take, through procedures established
in their national legislation, in accordance with international law, including
applicable international agreements or arrangements, such measures as are
necessary to achieve and to assist other States in achieving the objectives of
this Code, and should make known to other States details of regulations and
measures they have established for this purpose. When taking such measures a
port State should not discriminate in form or in fact against the vessels of any
8.3.2 Port States should provide such assistance to flag States as is
appropriate, in accordance with the national laws of the port State and
international law, when a fishing vessel is voluntarily in a port or at an
offshore terminal of the port State and the flag State of the vessel requests
the port State for assistance in respect of non- compliance with subregional,
regional or global conservation and management measures or with internationally
agreed minimum standards for the prevention of pollution and for safety, health
and conditions of work on board fishing vessels.
8.4 Fishing activities
8.4.1 States should ensure that fishing is conducted with due
regard to the safety of human life and the International Maritime Organization
International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, as well as
International Maritime Organization requirements relating to the organization of
marine traffic, protection of the marine environment and the prevention of
damage to or loss of fishing gear.
8.4.2 States should prohibit dynamiting, poisoning and other comparable
destructive fishing practices.
8.4.3 States should make every effort to ensure that documentation with regard
to fishing operations, retained catch of fish and non-fish species and, as
regards discards, the information required for stock assessment as decided by
relevant management bodies, is collected and forwarded systematically to those
bodies. States should, as far as possible, establish programmes, such as
observer and inspection schemes, in order to promote compliance with applicable
8.4.4 States should promote the adoption of appropriate technology, taking into
account economic conditions, for the best use and care of the retained catch.
8.4.5 States, with relevant groups from industry, should encourage the
development and implementation of technologies and operational methods that
reduce discards. The use of fishing gear and practices that lead to the
discarding of catch should be discouraged and the use of fishing gear and
practices that increase survival rates of escaping fish should be promoted.
8.4.6 States should cooperate to develop and apply technologies, materials and
operational methods that minimize the loss of fishing gear and the ghost fishing
effects of lost or abandoned fishing gear.
8.4.7 States should ensure that assessments of the implications of habitat
disturbance are carried out prior to the introduction on a commercial scale of
new fishing gear, methods and operations to an area.
8.4.8 Research on the environmental and social impacts of fishing gear and, in
particular, on the impact of such gear on biodiversity and coastal fishing
communities should be promoted.
8.5 Fishing gear selectivity
8.5.1 States should require that fishing gear, methods and
practices, to the extent practicable, are sufficiently selective so as to
minimize waste, discards, catch of non-target species, both fish and non-fish
species, and impacts on associated or dependent species and that the intent of
related regulations is not circumvented by technical devices. In this regard,
fishers should cooperate in the development of selective fishing gear and
methods. States should ensure that information on new developments and
requirements is made available to all fishers.
8.5.2 In order to improve selectivity, States should, when drawing up their laws
and regulations, take into account the range of selective fishing gear, methods
and strategies available to the industry.
8.5.3 States and relevant institutions should collaborate in developing standard
methodologies for research into fishing gear selectivity, fishing methods and
8.5.4 International cooperation should be encouraged with respect to research
programmes for fishing gear selectivity, and fishing methods and strategies,
dissemination of the results of such research programmes and the transfer of
8.6 Energy optimization
8.6.1 States should promote the development of appropriate
standards and guidelines which would lead to the more efficient use of energy in
harvesting and post-harvest activities within the fisheries sector.
8.6.2 States should promote the development and transfer of technology in
relation to energy optimization within the fisheries sector and, in particular,
encourage owners, charterers and managers of fishing vessels to fit energy
optimization devices to their vessels.
8.7 Protection of the aquatic environment
8.7.1 States should introduce and enforce laws and
regulations based on the International Convention for the Prevention of
Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto
8.7.2 Owners, charterers and managers of fishing vessels should ensure that
their vessels are fitted with appropriate equipment as required by MARPOL 73/78
and should consider fitting a shipboard compactor or incinerator to relevant
classes of vessels in order to treat garbage and other shipboard wastes
generated during the vessel's normal service.
8.7.3 Owners, charterers and managers of fishing vessels should minimize the
taking aboard of potential garbage through proper provisioning practices.
8.7.4 The crew of fishing vessels should be conversant with proper shipboard
procedures in order to ensure discharges do not exceed the levels set by MARPOL
73/78. Such procedures should, as a minimum, include the disposal of oily waste
and the handling and storage of shipboard garbage.
8.8 Protection of the atmosphere
8.8.1 States should adopt relevant standards and guidelines
which would include provisions for the reduction of dangerous substances in
exhaust gas emissions.
8.8.2 Owners, charterers and managers of fishing vessels should ensure that
their vessels are fitted with equipment to reduce emissions of ozone depleting
substances. The responsible crew members of fishing vessels should be conversant
with the proper running and maintenance of machinery on board.
8.8.3 Competent authorities should make provision for the phasing out of the use
of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and transitional substances such as
hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in the refrigeration systems of fishing vessels
and should ensure that the shipbuilding industry and those engaged in the
fishing industry are informed of and comply with such provisions.
8.8.4 Owners or managers of fishing vessels should take appropriate action to
refit existing vessels with alternative refrigerants to CFCs and HCFCs and
alternatives to Halons in fire fighting installations. Such alternatives should
be used in specifications for all new fishing vessels.
8.8.5 States and owners, charterers and managers of fishing vessels as well as
fishers should follow international guidelines for the disposal of CFCs, HCFCs
8.9 Harbours and landing places for fishing vessels
8.9.1 States should take into account, inter alia, the
following in the design and construction of harbours and landing places:
a. safe havens for fishing vessels and adequate servicing
facilities for vessels, vendors and buyers are provided;
b. adequate freshwater supplies and sanitation arrangements
should be provided;
c. waste disposal systems should be introduced, including for
the disposal of oil, oily water and fishing gear;
d. pollution from fisheries activities and external sources
should be minimized; and
e. arrangements should be made to combat the effects of
erosion and siltation.
8.9.2 States should establish an institutional framework for the selection or
improvement of sites for harbours for fishing vessels which allows for
consultation among the authorities responsible for coastal area management.
8.10 Abandonment of structures and other materials
8.10.1 States should ensure that the standards and guidelines
for the removal of redundant offshore structures issued by the International
Maritime Organization are followed. States should also ensure that the competent
fisheries authorities are consulted prior to decisions being made on the
abandonment of structures and other materials by the relevant authorities.
8.11 Artificial reefs and fish aggregation devices
8.11.1 States, where appropriate, should develop policies for
increasing stock populations and enhancing fishing opportunities through the use
of artificial structures, placed with due regard to the safety of navigation, on
or above the seabed or at the surface. Research into the use of such structures,
including the impacts on living marine resources and the environment, should be
8.11.2 States should ensure that, when selecting the materials to be used in the
creation of artificial reefs as well as when selecting the geographical location
of such artificial reefs, the provisions of relevant international conventions
concerning the environment and safety of navigation are observed.
8.11.3 States should, within the framework of coastal area management plans,
establish management systems for artificial reefs and fish aggregation devices.
Such management systems should require approval for the construction and
deployment of such reefs and devices and should take into account the interests
of fishers, including artisanal and subsistence fishers.
8.11.4 States should ensure that the authorities responsible for maintaining
cartographic records and charts for the purpose of navigation, as well as
relevant environmental authorities, are informed prior to the placement or
removal of artificial reefs or fish aggregation devices.
9 - AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT
9.1 Responsible development of aquaculture, including
culture-based fisheries, in areas under national jurisdiction
9.1.1 States should establish, maintain and develop an appropriate legal and
administrative framework which facilitates the development of responsible
9.1.2 States should promote responsible development and management of
aquaculture, including an advance evaluation of the effects of aquaculture
development on genetic diversity and ecosystem integrity, based on the best
available scientific information.
9.1.3 States should produce and regularly update aquaculture development
strategies and plans, as required, to ensure that aquaculture development is
ecologically sustainable and to allow the rational use of resources shared by
aquaculture and other activities.
9.1.4 States should ensure that the livelihoods of local communities, and their
access to fishing grounds, are not negatively affected by aquaculture
9.1.5 States should establish effective procedures specific to aquaculture to
undertake appropriate environmental assessment and monitoring with the aim of
minimizing adverse ecological changes and related economic and social
consequences resulting from water extraction, land use, discharge of effluents,
use of drugs and chemicals, and other aquaculture activities.
9.2 Responsible development of aquaculture including
culture-based fisheries within transboundary aquatic ecosystems
9.2.1 States should protect transboundary aquatic ecosystems
by supporting responsible aquaculture practices within their national
jurisdiction and by cooperation in the promotion of sustainable aquaculture
9.2.2 States should, with due respect to their neighbouring States, and in
accordance with international law, ensure responsible choice of species, siting
and management of aquaculture activities which could affect transboundary
9.2.3 States should consult with their neighbouring States, as appropriate,
before introducing non-indigenous species into transboundary aquatic ecosystems.
9.2.4 States should establish appropriate mechanisms, such as databases and
information networks to collect, share and disseminate data related to their
aquaculture activities to facilitate cooperation on planning for aquaculture
development at the national, subregional, regional and global level.
9.2.5 States should cooperate in the development of appropriate mechanisms, when
required, to monitor the impacts of inputs used in aquaculture.
9.3 Use of aquatic genetic resources for the purposes of
aquaculture including culture-based fisheries
9.3.1 States should conserve genetic diversity and maintain
integrity of aquatic communities and ecosystems by appropriate management. In
particular, efforts should be undertaken to minimize the harmful effects of
introducing non-native species or genetically altered stocks used for
aquaculture including culture-based fisheries into waters, especially where
there is a significant potential for the spread of such non-native species or
genetically altered stocks into waters under the jurisdiction of other States as
well as waters under the jurisdiction of the State of origin. States should,
whenever possible, promote steps to minimize adverse genetic, disease and other
effects of escaped farmed fish on wild stocks.
9.3.2 States should cooperate in the elaboration, adoption and implementation of
international codes of practice and procedures for introductions and transfers
of aquatic organisms.
9.3.3 States should, in order to minimize risks of disease transfer and other
adverse effects on wild and cultured stocks, encourage adoption of appropriate
practices in the genetic improvement of broodstocks, the introduction of
non-native species, and in the production, sale and transport of eggs, larvae or
fry, broodstock or other live materials. States should facilitate the
preparation and implementation of appropriate national codes of practice and
procedures to this effect.
9.3.4 States should promote the use of appropriate procedures for the selection
of broodstock and the production of eggs, larvae and fry.
9.3.5 States should, where appropriate, promote research and, when feasible, the
development of culture techniques for endangered species to protect,
rehabilitate and enhance their stocks, taking into account the critical need to
conserve genetic diversity of endangered species.
9.4 Responsible aquaculture at the production level
9.4.1 States should promote responsible aquaculture practices
in support of rural communities, producer organizations and fish farmers.
9.4.2 States should promote active participation of fishfarmers and their
communities in the development of responsible aquaculture management practices.
9.4.3 States should promote efforts which improve selection and use of
appropriate feeds, feed additives and fertilizers, including manures.
9.4.4 States should promote effective farm and fish health management practices
favouring hygienic measures and vaccines. Safe, effective and minimal use of
therapeutants, hormones and drugs, antibiotics and other disease control
chemicals should be ensured.
9.4.5 States should regulate the use of chemical inputs in aquaculture which are
hazardous to human health and the environment.
9.4.6 States should require that the disposal of wastes such as offal, sludge,
dead or diseased fish, excess veterinary drugs and other hazardous chemical
inputs does not constitute a hazard to human health and the environment.
9.4.7 States should ensure the food safety of aquaculture products and promote
efforts which maintain product quality and improve their value through
particular care before and during harvesting and on-site processing and in
storage and transport of the products.
ARTICLE 10 - INTEGRATION OF FISHERIES INTO COASTAL AREA
10.1 Institutional framework
10.1.1 States should ensure that an appropriate policy, legal
and institutional framework is adopted to achieve the sustainable and integrated
use of the resources, taking into account the fragility of coastal ecosystems
and the finite nature of their natural resources and the needs of coastal
10.1.2 In view of the multiple uses of the coastal area, States should ensure
that representatives of the fisheries sector and fishing communities are
consulted in the decision-making processes and involved in other activities
related to coastal area management planning and development.
10.1.3 States should develop, as appropriate, institutional and legal frameworks
in order to determine the possible uses of coastal resources and to govern
access to them taking into account the rights of coastal fishing communities and
their customary practices to the extent compatible with sustainable development.
10.1.4 States should facilitate the adoption of fisheries practices that avoid
conflict among fisheries resources users and between them and other users of the
10.1.5 States should promote the establishment of procedures and mechanisms at
the appropriate administrative level to settle conflicts which arise within the
fisheries sector and between fisheries resource users and other users of the
10.2 Policy measures
10.2.1 States should promote the creation of public awareness
of the need for the protection and management of coastal resources and the
participation in the management process by those affected.
10.2.2 In order to assist decision-making on the allocation and use of coastal
resources, States should promote the assessment of their respective value taking
into account economic, social and cultural factors.
10.2.3 In setting policies for the management of coastal areas, States should
take due account of the risks and uncertainties involved.
10.2.4 States, in accordance with their capacities, should establish or promote
the establishment of systems to monitor the coastal environment as part of the
coastal management process using physical, chemical, biological, economic and
10.2.5 States should promote multi-disciplinary research in support of coastal
area management, in particular on its environmental, biological, economic,
social, legal and institutional aspects.
10.3 Regional cooperation
10.3.1 States with neighbouring coastal areas should
cooperate with one another to facilitate the sustainable use of coastal
resources and the conservation of the environment.
10.3.2 In the case of activities that may have an adverse transboundary
environmental effect on coastal areas, States should:
a. provide timely information and, if possible, prior
notification to potentially affected States; and
b. consult with those States as early as possible.
10.3.3 States should cooperate at the subregional and regional level in order to
improve coastal area management.
10.4.1 States should establish mechanisms for cooperation and
coordination among national authorities involved in planning, development,
conservation and management of coastal areas.
10.4.2 States should ensure that the authority or authorities representing the
fisheries sector in the coastal management process have the appropriate
technical capacities and financial resources.
11 - POST-HARVEST PRACTICES AND TRADE
11.1 Responsible fish utilization
11.1.1 States should adopt appropriate measures to ensure the
right of consumers to safe, wholesome and unadulterated fish and fishery
11.1.2 States should establish and maintain effective national safety and
quality assurance systems to protect consumer health and prevent commercial
11.1.3 States should set minimum standards for safety and quality assurance and
make sure that these standards are effectively applied throughout the industry.
They should promote the implementation of quality standards agreed within the
context of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission and other relevant
organizations or arrangements.
11.1.4 States should cooperate to achieve harmonization, or mutual recognition,
or both, of national sanitary measures and certification programmes as
appropriate and explore possibilities for the establishment of mutually
recognized control and certification agencies.
11.1.5 States should give due consideration to the economic and social role of
the post-harvest fisheries sector when formulating national policies for the
sustainable development and utilization of fishery resources.
11.1.6 States and relevant organizations should sponsor research in fish
technology and quality assurance and support projects to improve post-harvest
handling of fish, taking into account the economic, social, environmental and
nutritional impact of such projects.
11.1.7 States, noting the existence of different production methods, should
through cooperation and by facilitating the development and transfer of
appropriate technologies, ensure that processing, transporting and storage
methods are environmentally sound.
11.1.8 States should encourage those involved in fish processing, distribution
and marketing to:
a. reduce post-harvest losses and waste;
b. improve the use of by-catch to the extent that this is
consistent with responsible fisheries management practices; and
c. use the resources, especially water and energy, in
particular wood, in an environmentally sound manner.
11.1.9 States should encourage the use of fish for human consumption and promote
consumption of fish whenever appropriate.
11.1.10 States should cooperate in order to facilitate the production of
value-added products by developing countries.
11.1.11 States should ensure that international and domestic trade in fish and
fishery products accords with sound conservation and management practices
through improving the identification of the origin of fish and fishery products
11.1.12 States should ensure that environmental effects of post- harvest
activities are considered in the development of related laws, regulations and
policies without creating any market distortions.
11.2 Responsible international trade
11.2.1 The provisions of this Code should be interpreted and
applied in accordance with the principles, rights and obligations established in
the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement.
11.2.2 International trade in fish and fishery products should not compromise
the sustainable development of fisheries and responsible utilization of living
11.2.3 States should ensure that measures affecting international trade in fish
and fishery products are transparent, based, when applicable, on scientific
evidence, and are in accordance with internationally agreed rules.
11.2.4 Fish trade measures adopted by States to protect human or animal life or
health, the interests of consumers or the environment, should not be
discriminatory and should be in accordance with internationally agreed trade
rules, in particular the principles, rights and obligations established in the
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and the
Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade of the WTO.
11.2.5 States should further liberalize trade in fish and fishery products and
eliminate barriers and distortions to trade such as duties, quotas and
non-tariff barriers in accordance with the principles, rights and obligations of
the WTO Agreement.
11.2.6 States should not directly or indirectly create unnecessary or hidden
barriers to trade which limit the consumer's freedom of choice of supplier or
that restrict market access.
11.2.7 States should not condition access to markets to access to resources.
This principle does not preclude the possibility of fishing agreements between
States which include provisions referring to access to resources, trade and
access to markets, transfer of technology, scientific research, training and
other relevant elements.
11.2.8 States should not link access to markets to the purchase of specific
technology or sale of other products.
11.2.9 States should cooperate in complying with relevant international
agreements regulating trade in endangered species.
11.2.10 States should develop international agreements for trade in live
specimens where there is a risk of environmental damage in importing or
11.2.11 States should cooperate to promote adherence to, and effective
implementation of relevant international standards for trade in fish and fishery
products and living aquatic resource conservation.
11.2.12 States should not undermine conservation measures for living aquatic
resources in order to gain trade or investment benefits.
11.2.13 States should cooperate to develop internationally acceptable rules or
standards for trade in fish and fishery products in accordance with the
principles, rights, and obligations established in the WTO Agreement.
11.2.14 States should cooperate with each other and actively participate in
relevant regional and multilateral fora, such as the WTO, in order to ensure
equitable, non-discriminatory trade in fish and fishery products as well as wide
adherence to multilaterally agreed fishery conservation measures.
11.2.15 States, aid agencies, multilateral development banks and other relevant
international organizations should ensure that their policies and practices
related to the promotion of international fish trade and export production do
not result in environmental degradation or adversely impact the nutritional
rights and needs of people for whom fish is critical to their health and well
being and for whom other comparable sources of food are not readily available or
11.3 Laws and regulations relating to fish trade
11.3.1 Laws, regulations and administrative procedures
applicable to international trade in fish and fishery products should be
transparent, as simple as possible, comprehensible and, when appropriate, based
on scientific evidence.
11.3.2 States, in accordance with their national laws, should facilitate
appropriate consultation with and participation of industry as well as
environmental and consumer groups in the development and implementation of laws
and regulations related to trade in fish and fishery products.
11.3.3 States should simplify their laws, regulations and administrative
procedures applicable to trade in fish and fishery products without jeopardizing
11.3.4 When a State introduces changes to its legal requirements affecting trade
in fish and fishery products with other States, sufficient information and time
should be given to allow the States and producers affected to introduce, as
appropriate, the changes needed in their processes and procedures. In this
connection, consultation with affected States on the time frame for
implementation of the changes would be desirable. Due consideration should be
given to requests from developing countries for temporary derogations from
11.3.5 States should periodically review laws and regulations applicable to
international trade in fish and fishery products in order to determine whether
the conditions which gave rise to their introduction continue to exist.
11.3.6 States should harmonize as far as possible the standards applicable to
international trade in fish and fishery products in accordance with relevant
internationally recognized provisions.
11.3.7 States should collect, disseminate and exchange timely, accurate and
pertinent statistical information on international trade in fish and fishery
products through relevant national institutions and international organizations.
11.3.8 States should promptly notify interested States, WTO and other
appropriate international organizations on the development of and changes to
laws, regulations and administrative procedures applicable to international
trade in fish and fishery products.
12 - FISHERIES RESEARCH
12.1 States should recognize that responsible fisheries
requires the availability of a sound scientific basis to assist fisheries
managers and other interested parties in making decisions. Therefore, States
should ensure that appropriate research is conducted into all aspects of
fisheries including biology, ecology, technology, environmental science,
economics, social science, aquaculture and nutritional science. States should
ensure the availability of research facilities and provide appropriate training,
staffing and institution building to conduct the research, taking into account
the special needs of developing countries.
12.2 States should establish an appropriate institutional framework to determine
the applied research which is required and its proper use.
12.3 States should ensure that data generated by research are analyzed, that the
results of such analyses are published, respecting confidentiality where
appropriate, and distributed in a timely and readily understood fashion,in order
that the best scientific evidence is made available as a contribution to
fisheries conservation, management and development. In the absence of adequate
scientific information, appropriate research should be initiated as soon as
12.4 States should collect reliable and accurate data which are required to
assess the status of fisheries and ecosystems, including data on bycatch,
discards and waste. Where appropriate, this data should be provided, at an
appropriate time and level of aggregation, to relevant States and subregional,
regional and global fisheries organizations.
12.5 States should be able to monitor and assess the state of the stocks under
their jurisdiction, including the impacts of ecosystem changes resulting from
fishing pressure, pollution or habitat alteration. They should also establish
the research capacity necessary to assess the effects of climate or environment
change on fish stocks and aquatic ecosystems.
12.6 States should support and strengthen national research capabilities to meet
acknowledged scientific standards.
12.7 States, as appropriate in cooperation with relevant international
organizations, should encourage research to ensure optimum utilization of
fishery resources and stimulate the research required to support national
policies related to fish as food.
12.8 States should conduct research into, and monitor, human food supplies from
aquatic sources and the environment from which they are taken and ensure that
there is no adverse health impact on consumers. The results of such research
should be made publicly available.
12.9 States should ensure that the economic, social, marketing and institutional
aspects of fisheries are adequately researched and that comparable data are
generated for ongoing monitoring, analysis and policy formulation.
12.10 States should carry out studies on the selectivity of fishing gear, the
environmental impact of fishing gear on target species and on the behaviour of
target and non-target species in relation to such fishing gear as an aid for
management decisions and with a view to minimizing non-utilized catches as well
as safeguarding the biodiversity of ecosystems and the aquatic habitat.
12.11 States should ensure that before the commercial introduction of new types
of gear, a scientific evaluation of their impact on the fisheries and ecosystems
where they will be used should be undertaken. The effects of such gear
introductions should be monitored.
12.12 States should investigate and document traditional fisheries knowledge and
technologies, in particular those applied to small-scale fisheries, in order to
assess their application to sustainable fisheries conservation, management and
12.13 States should promote the use of research results as a basis for the
setting of management objectives, reference points and performance criteria, as
well as for ensuring adequate linkages between applied research and fisheries
12.14 States conducting scientific research activities in waters under the
jurisdiction of another State should ensure that their vessels comply with the
laws and regulations of that State and international law.
12.15 States should promote the adoption of uniform guidelines governing
fisheries research conducted on the high seas.
12.16 States should, where appropriate, support the establishment of mechanisms,
including, inter alia, the adoption of uniform guidelines, to facilitate
research at the subregional or regional level and should encourage the sharing
of the results of such research with other regions.
12.17 States, either directly or with the support of relevant international
organizations, should develop collaborative technical and research programmes to
improve understanding of the biology, environment and status of transboundary
12.18 States and relevant international organizations should promote and enhance
the research capacities of developing countries, inter alia, in the areas of
data collection and analysis, information, science and technology, human
resource development and provision of research facilities, in order for them to
participate effectively in the conservation, management and sustainable use of
living aquatic resources.
12.19 Competent international organizations should, where appropriate, render
technical and financial support to States upon request and when engaged in
research investigations aimed at evaluating stocks which have been previously
unfished or very lightly fished.
12.20 Relevant technical and financial international organizations should, upon
request, support States in their research efforts, devoting special attention to
developing countries, in particular the least-developed among them and small
island developing countries.
BACKGROUND TO THE ORIGIN AND ELABORATION OF THE CODE
1. This annex describes the process of elaboration and
negotiation of the Code, which led to its submission for adoption to the
Twenty-eighth Session of the FAO Conference. It has been felt useful to annex
this section as a reference to the origin and the development of the Code and
thus reflect the interest generated and the spirit of compromise of all the
parties involved in its elaboration. It is hoped that this will contribute to
the promotion of the commitment necessary for its implementation.
2. At various international fora, concern had long been
expressed regarding the clear signs of over-exploitation of important fish
stocks, damage to ecosystems, economic losses, and issues affecting fish trade -
all of which threatened the long-term sustainability of fisheries and, in turn,
harmed the contribution of fisheries to food supply. In discussing the current
state and prospects of world fisheries, the Nineteenth Session of the FAO
Committee on Fisheries (COFI), held in March 1991, recommended that FAO should
develop the concept of responsible fisheries and elaborate a Code of Conduct to
3. Subsequently, the Government of Mexico, in collaboration
wiht FAO, organized an International Conference on Responsible Fishing in
Cancūn, in May 1992. The Declaration of Cancūn endorsed at that Conference
further developed the concept of responsible fisheries, stating that "this
concept encompasses the sustainable utilization of fisheries resources in
harmony with the environment; the use of capture and aquaculture practices which
are not harmful to ecosystems, resources or their quality; the incorporation of
added value to such products through transformation processes meeting the
required sanitary standards; the conduct of commercial practices so as to
provide consumers access to good quality products".
4. The Cancūn Declaration was brought to the attention of
the UNCED Rio Summit in June 1992, which supported the preparation of a Code of
Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The FAO Technical Consultation on High Seas
Fishing, held in September 1992, further recommended the elaboration of a Code
to address the issues regarding high seas fisheries.
5. The One Hundred and Second Session of the FAO Council,
held in November 1992, discussed the elaboration of the Code, recommending that
priority be given to high seas issues and requested that proposals for the Code
be presented to the 1993 session of the Committee on Fisheries.
6. The Twentieth Session of COFI, held in March 1993,
examined general principles for such a Code, including the elaboration of
guidelines and endorsed a timeframe for the further elaboration of the Code. It
also requested FAO to prepare, on a "fast track" basis, as part of the
Code, proposals to prevent reflagging of fishing vessels which affect
conservation and management measures on the high seas.
7. The further development of the Code of Conduct for
Responsible Fisheries was accordingly carried out in consultation and
collaboration with relevant United Nations Agencies and other international
organizations including non-governmental organizations.
8. In pursuance of the instructions of the FAO Governing
Bodies, the draft Code was formulated in such a way as to be consistent with the
1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, taking into account the
1992 Declaration of Cancūn, the 1992 Rio Declaration and the provisions of
Agenda 21 of UNCED, the conclusions and recommendations of the 1992 FAO
Technical Consultation on High Seas Fishing, the Strategy endorsed by the 1984
FAO World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development, and other relevant
instruments including the outcome of the then ongoing United Nations Conference
on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks which, in August
1995, adopted an Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Concerning
Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.
9. The FAO Conference, at its Twenty-seventh Session in
November 1993, adopted the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International
Conservationa and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas and
recommended that the General Principles of the Code of Conduct for Responsaible
Fisheries be prepared on a "fast track" in order to orientate
formulation of thematic articles. Accordingly, a draft text of the General
Principles was reviewed by an informal Working Group of Government-nominated
experts, which met in Rome in February 1994. A revised draft was widely
circulated to all FAO Members and Associate Members as well as intergovernmental
and non-governmental organizations. Comments received on the second version of
the General Principles were incorporated in the draft Code together with
proposals for an alternative text. This document was also the subject of
informal consultation with non-governmental organizations on the occasion of the
Fourth Session of the United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and
Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, held in August 1994 in New York.
10. In order to facilitate consideration of the full text of
the draft Code, the Director-General proposed to the Council at its Hundred and
Sixth Session inJune 1994, that a Technical Consultation on the Code of Conduct
for Responsible Fishing be organized, open to all FAO Members, interested
non-members, intergovernmental and non-govermental organizations, in order to
provide an opportunity for the widest involvement of all concerned parties at an
early stage of its elaboration.
11. This Technical Consultation took place in Rome from 26
September to 5 October 1994 and a draft for the entire Code and a first draft of
technical guidelines to support most of the Thematic Articles of the Code were
presented. Following a thorough review of all the Articles of the complete draft
Code of Conduct, an Alternative Secretariat Draft was then prepared on the basis
of comments made during the discussions in plenary and specific drafting changes
submitted in writing during the Consultation.
12. The Consultation was able to review also in detail an
alternative draft for three of the six Thematic Articles of the Code, i.e.,
Article 9 "Integration of Fisheries into Coastal Area Management",
Article 6 "Fisheries Management", Article 7 "Fishing
Operations", except for those principles which were likely to be affected
by the outcome of the ongoing UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly
Migratory Fish Stocks. A short Administrative Report was prepared and presented
to the FAO Council and to COFI.
13. The Technical Consultation proposed to the Council at its
Hundred and Seventh Session, 15-24 November 1994, that the final wording of
those principles dealing mainly with high seas issues be left in abeyance
pending the outcome of the UN Conference. The Council generally endorsed the
proposed procedure, noting that following discussions at the next session of
COFI, a final draft of the Code would be submitted to the FAO Council in June
1995 which would then decide upon the necessity for a Technical Committee to
meet in parallel to that Session of the Council in order to elaborate further
the detailed provisions of the Code if required.
14. Based upon the substantial comments and detailed
suggestions received at the Technical Consultation, the Secretariat elaborated a
revised draft of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, which was
submitted to the Twenty-first Session of the Committee on Fisheries, held from
10 to 15 March 1995.
15. The Committee on Fisheries was also informed that the UN
Conference was expected to conclude its work in August 1995. It was proposed
that principles left in abeyance in the draft text of the Code could then be
reconciled with the language agreed upon at the UN Conference in accordance with
a mechanism to be decided upon by the Committee and the Council,
beforesubmission of the complete Code for its adoptiton at the Twenty-eighth
Session of the FAO Conference in October 1995.
16. The Committee was informed of the various steps the
Secretariat had undertaken in preparing the draft Code of Conduct. The Committee
established an open-ended Working Group in order to review the draft text of the
Code. The Working Group, which met from 10 to 14 March 1995, undertook a
detailed revision of the draft Code in continuation of the work carried out by
the Technical Consultation. It completed and approved the text of Articles 8 to
11. In view of the time constraints, the Working Group provided directives to
the Secretariat to redraft Articles 1 to 5. It was also recommended that the
elements of research and cooperation as well as aquaculture be included in
Article 5, General Principles, to reflect issues developed in the Thematic
Articles of the Code.
17. The Committee supported the proposal endorsed by the
Hundred and Seventh Session of the Council on mechanisms to finalize the Code.
The final wording of those principles dealing mainly with issues concerning
straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks, which formed only a
small part of the Code, should be re-examined in the light of the outcome of the
UN Conference. The Group also recommended that once agreement was reached on the
substance, it would be necessary to harmonize legal, technical and idiomatic
aspects of the Code, in order to facilitate its final approval.
18. The Report of the open-ended Working Group was presented
to a Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries, held on 14 and 15 March 1995, in
conjunction with the COFI Session. The Rome Consensus on World Fisheries
emanating from this meeting urged that "Governments and international
organizations take prompt action to complete the International Code of Conduct
for Responsible Fisheries with a view to submitting the final text to the FAO
Conference in October 1995".
19. The Hundred and Eighth Session of the Council was
presented with a revised version of the Code of Conduct. The Council established
an open-ended Technical Committee, which held its First Session from 5 to 9 June
1995, with a broad regional representation of members and observers. A number of
intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations also participated.
20. The Council was informed by the Technical Committee that
it had undertaken a thorough review of Articles 1 to 5 including the
Introduction. It had also examined, amended and approved Aticles 8 to 11. The
Council was also informed that the Committee had started the revision of Article
21. The Council approved the work carried out by the
Technical Committee and endorsed its recommendation for a Second Session to be
held from 25 to 29 September 1995 to complete the revision of the Code once the
Secretariat had harmonized the text linguistically and juridically, taking into
account the outcome of the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly
Migratory Fish Stocks.
22. A revised version of the Code as approved by the
Open-ended Technical Committee at its First Session (5-9 June 1995) and endorsed
by the One Hundred and Eighth Session of the Council was issued, both as a
Conference document (C 95/20) and as a working paper for the Second Session of
the Technical Committee. Elements pending agreement were clearly identified.
23. In order to facilitate the finalization of the entire
Code, the Secretariat prepared the document "Secretariat Proposals for
Article 6, Fisheries Management, and Article 7, Fishing Operations, of the Code
of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries", taking into account the Agreement
relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly
Migratory Fish Stocks, adopted by the UN Conference in August 1995. The
Secretariat also completed proposals for the harmonization of the text on legal
and linguistic aspects and made this available to the Committee in three
languages for the session (English, French and Spanish).
24. A Second Session of the Open-ended Technical Committee of
the Council met from 25 to 29 September 1995, with a wide representation of
regions and interested organizations. The Committee, working in a full spirit of
collaboration, successfully concluded its mandate, finalizing and endorsing all
Articles and the Code as a whole. The Technical Committee agreed that the
negotiations of the text of the Code were finalized. An Open-ended Informal
Group on Language Harmonization held an additional session and, together with
the Secretariat, completed the harmonization on the basis of the text as adopted
at the closing session. The Technical Committee instructed the Secretariat to
already submit the finalized version as a revised Conference document to the
Hundred and Ninth Session of the Council and to the Twenty-eighth Session of the
Conference for its adoption. The Council endorsed the Code of Conduct as
finalized by the Technical Committee. The Secretariat was requested to prepare
the required draft resolution for the Conference, including also a call on
countries to ratify, as a matter of urgency, the Compliance Agreement adopted at
the last session of the Conference. The Twenty-eighth Session of the Conference
adopted on 31 October 1995, by consensus, the Code of Conduct for Responsible
Fisheries and the respective Resolution.
Recognizing the vital role of fisheries in world food
security, and economic and social development, as well as the need to ensure the
sustainability of the living aquatic resources and their environment for present
and future generations,
Recalling that the Committee on Fisheries on 19 March
1991 recommended the development of the concept of responsible fishing and the
possible formulation of an instrument on the matter,
Considering that the Declaration of Cancśn, which
emanated from the Inter-national Conference on Responsible Fisheries of May
1992, organized by the Government of Mexico in collaboration with FAO, had
called for the preparation of a Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries.
Bearing in mind that with the entry into force of the
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, and the adoption of the
Agreement for the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the
Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish
Stocks, as was anticipated in the 1992 Rio Declaration and the provisions of
Agenda 21 of UNCED, there is an increased need for subregional and regional
cooperation, and that significant responsibilities are placed upon FAO in
accordance with its mandate,
Recalling further that the Conference in 1993 adopted the
FAO Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and
Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas, and that this Agreement
would constitute an integral part of the Code of Conduct,
Noting with satisfaction that FAO, in accordance with the
decisions of its Governing Bodies, had organized a series of technical meetings
to formulate the Code of Conduct, and that these meetings have resulted in
agreement being reached on the text of the Code of Conduct for Responsible
Acknowledging that the Rome Consensus on World Fisheries,
which emanated from the Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries of 14-15 March 1995,
urged govern-ments and international organizations to respond effectively to the
current fisheries situation, inter alia, by completing the Code of
Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and to consider adopting the Agreement to
Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by
Fishing Vessels on the High Seas:
1. Decides to adopt the Code of Conduct for
2. Calls on States, International Organizations,
whether Governmental or Non-Governmental, and all those involved in fisheries to
collaborate in the fulfilment and implementation of the objectives and
principles contained in this Code;
3. Urges that special requirements of developing
countries be taken into account in implementing the provisions of this Code;
4. Requests FAO to make provision in the Programme of
Work and Budget for providing advice to developing countries in implementing
this Code and for the elaboration of an Interregional Assistance Programme for
external assistance aimed at supporting implementation of the Code;
5. Further requests FAO, in collaboration with members
and interested relevant organizations, to elaborate, as appropriate, technical
guidelines in support of the implementaiton of the Code;
6. Calls upon FAO to monitor and report on the
implementation of the Code and its effects on fisheries, including action taken
under other instruments and resolutions by UN organizations and, in particular,
the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly to give effect to the Conference
on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks leading to the
Agreement for the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the
Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish
7. Urges FAO to strengthen Regional Fisheries Bodies
in order to deal more effectively with fisheries conservation and management
issues in support of subregional, regional and global cooperation and
coordination in fisheries.
References in this Code to the United Nations Convention on the Law of
the Sea, 1982, or to other international agreements do not prejudice the
position of any State with respect to signature, ratification or accession
to the Convention or with respect to such other agreements