Analysis of the implementation and impact of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries since 1995

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular. No. 1038

Analysis of the implementation and impact of the FAO Code
of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries since 1995

Gilles Hosch
Fisheries Planning and Management
FAO Consultant

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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome 2009


Hosch, G.
Analysis of the implementation and impact of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries since 1995.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular. No. 1038. Rome, FAO. 2009. 99p.

This circular analyses the implementation and the impact of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries since 1995. In doing so, it first establishes a picture of fisheries and aquaculture sectors before the publication of the Code and 13 years after, in order to detect major changes in both sectors. While fundamental changes in the fisheries sector remained few, the aquaculture sector displays a rather important degree of change, where practices in farm management and environmental management, amongst others, seem to have undergone broad and significant improvements.

The document bases its analysis on country-level implementation of Code principles and provisions, and then looks into how various sector related players have endorsed and adopted the Code, and contributed to its implementation. This analysis shows that in many domains, implementation of the Code has been slow on the ground, but that in some domains, such as the implementation of the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU), countries have been fast to embrace the Code and implement its instrument in the ways prescribed. The study also shows that a very vast and diverse range of sector stakeholders across the entire spectrum have endorsed the Code and do pursue its stated objectives.

The key impacts of the Code relate to its broad-based endorsement, and the ways in which it has shaped policies, legal and management frameworks worldwide, as a universally applicable international policy instrument, and how it has brought across into the fisheries domain the key principles of sustainable and responsible development inherent to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and its Agenda 21. The Code has been a facilitator of change towards more responsible and more sustainable approaches, but quantifying these, and relating them directly and primarily to the Code is not something that would appear reasonable. However, advances in domains such as combating IUU fishing have been Code-driven to a noticeable extent.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction


1.1 The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries –
     its origins and essence


1.2 Scope of this report

2. World fisheries and aquaculture situations: 1995 and 2008


2.1 Fisheries


2.2 Aquaculture


2.3 Trends and status in world fish supply and utilization

3. Code Implementation Efforts since 1995


3.1 What “implementation effort” means and how it
      can be measured


3.2 Country-level implementation


3.3 Industry associations


3.4 Regional fishery bodies and regional fisheries management


3.5 FAO and its Programme of Work and Budget


3.6 Civil Society in action


3.7 Other international efforts in awareness raising and
      capacity building


3.8 The Margarita Lizárraga prize

4. Impact of the Code


4.1 Overall impact


4.2 Direct impacts attributable to the Code


4.3 Impact of the Code too slow?

5. Challenges to the Code and recommended action to
    further the implementation  of the Code


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.
The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of FAO.

ISBN 978-92-5-106192-3

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