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International guidelines take aim at illegal fishing – FAO

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FishThe Food and Agriculture Organization says after several years of negotiations, countries have taken a major step against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, one of the greatest threats to sustainable fisheries and related livelihoods.

This is contained in the Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance agreed upon after over five years of consensus-building among Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Member Countries, made available to the Ghana News Agency over the weekend.

International guidelines developed through an FAO-led consultative process aim to cut down on IUU fishing by improving the accountability of flag states – those countries which register fishing vessels and authorize them to fly their flags.

The guidelines include recommended approaches to urge, encourage and help flag states comply with their international duties and obligations regarding the flagging and control of fishing vessels.

It also presents possible actions in response to non-compliance; while no exact figures are known, it is widely accepted that IUU fishing has escalated in the past two decades and its magnitude is considerable.

The proposed guidelines are wide-ranging and include, among other things, performance assessment criteria and procedures for carrying out assessments and the cooperation between flag states and coastal states.

It also looks 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.

It said in addition to facilitating the development of the guidelines, FAO would monitor and report on implementation of the guidelines to the Committee on Fisheries (COFI).

Under the guidelines FAO would also provide in-country technical assistance to countries requiring support; that support might include capacity-building measures like the development of an adequate legal and regulatory framework; strengthening of institutional organization and infrastructure needed to ensure adequate control of vessels; the development or improvement of monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing vessels and training.

The Guidelines draw on existing international laws; like the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea of December 10, 1982 and other international instruments such as the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the 2001 FAO International Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.

The guidelines will be presented to the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) for endorsement at its next Session in June, 2014.

Source: GNA

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One comment

  1. THIS LAW SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADOPTED LONG AGO TO STOP FOREIGN TRAWLERS OVER FISHING IN GHANAIAN WATERS ESPECIALLY BIG DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. LEAVING THEIR COASTLINES STOCKS TO GROW WHILES FISHING ELSEWHERE