International Symposium on Fisheries Sustainability

About the Symposium

Marine and inland fisheries today are at an important crossroads. They make a crucial and growing contribution to food, nutrition and livelihood security. Yet, despite significant successes, there is a decreasing overall trend in the proportion of marine fish stocks caught within biologically sustainable levels, especially in the least developed regions. At the same time, inland fisheries are profoundly affected by the growing demand for fresh water fish.

In the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, this symposium aims to clarify:

a) What is the status of global and regional fisheries sustainability?

b) What are the challenges to improve the sustainability of fish resources?

c) What constitutes evidence, and how do we ensure an evidence basis for decision making? and,

d) What does society expect from marine and inland fisheries in the 21st century?

The objective of this Symposium is to identify pathways to strengthen the science and policy interplay in fisheries production, management and trade, based on solid sustainability principles for improved global outcomes on the ground. Ultimately, the debates and conclusions of the symposium will prepare the way for the development of a new vision for the way we perceive and use capture fisheries, outlining how the sector can respond to the complex and rapidly changing challenges facing society, and support the planning process of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

Expected Outputs and Outcomes of the Symposium

The main output of the Symposium will be a technical document that synthesizes the information and debate in each of the Symposium’s sessions, to be tabled at the 34th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in July 2020. It will include quantitative information on the status of fisheries’ sustainability globally and regionally, examples of best management and partnership practices, and recommendations on how to better connect evidence and policy to secure fisheries’ sustainability in the 21st century.

This technical document will form the basis of a high-level policy statement on the role, value and sustainability status of global and regional fisheries. This statement will be drafted by FAO and shared for input and feedback with FAO members after the Symposium, to be endorsed during the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, to take place during the 34th session of the COFI.

Expected outcomes:

  • Develop and articulate a new vision for fisheries’ sustainability in the 21st century
  • Promote strategies for synergistic actions and supportive policies, at all levels, to promote sustainable fisheries while meeting international commitments
  • Reinforce commitments to the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and its associated instruments, leading to new FAO partnerships
  • Assist countries at COFI 34 as they debate and consider a new COFI Sub-Committee on Fisheries Management
  • Provide input to the planning process of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to join efforts, in moving towards an Ocean We Need for the Future We Want.