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International guidelines to combat IUU fishing

06 Mar 2013

The FAO has developed international guidelines to cut down on IUU fishing by improving the accountability of flag states.

The Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance have been agreed upon after over five years of consensus-building among FAO Member Countries. The guidelines will be presented to the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) for endorsement at its next Session in June 2014.

The guidelines include recommended approaches to encourage and help flag states comply with their international duties and obligations regarding the flagging and control of fishing vessels. They also present possible actions in response to non-compliance.

“The Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance are a real breakthrough. They will be a valuable tool in efforts to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” said Árni Mathiesen, FAO assistant director-general for Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“Ultimately, these guidelines can help to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of precious, living marine resources and ecosystems,” Mr Mathiesen added.

The proposed guidelines include performance assessment criteria and procedures for carrying out assessments, and the cooperation between flag states and coastal states. They also look at ways to encourage compliance and deter non-compliance by flag states; ways to cooperate with and assist developing states in capacity development, and the role that FAO can play in supporting these processes.