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Preparation of this document

These Guidelines were originally drafted by the Technical Consultation on the Precautionary Approach to Capture Fisheries (Including Species Introductions) organized by the Government of Sweden in cooperation with FAO in the Fisheries Laboratory of Lysekil (Sweden, 6-13 June 1995) with the participation of the following experts:

Devin Bartley, Åsmund Bjordal, John F. Caddy, Kee-Chai Chong, Engel J. De Boer, William De la Mare, Chris Francis, Serge Garcia, Henrik Gislasson, Olle Hagström, Ray Hilborn, Mikael Hildén, Daniel Huppert, Eskild Kirkegaard, Geoffrey Kirkwood, Christian Lévêque, Armin Lindquist, Jordi Lleonart, Alec MacCall, Jean-Jacques Maguire, Robin Mahon, Dan Minchin, Randall Peterman, John Pope, Andrew Rosenberg, Keith Sainsbury, Juan Carlos Seijo, Fred Serchuk, Ross Shotton, Michael Sissenwine, Tony Smith, Ziro Suzuki, Jan Thulin, Per Wramner.

The Code of Practice on the Introduction and Transfer of Marine Organisms (1994) is included in the Report as Annex A, by courtesy of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The Guidelines for Preventing the Introduction of Unwanted Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens from Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediment Discharges (1994) is included in the Report as Annex B by courtesy of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The Guidelines, originally published as FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, No. 350, Part 1, Rome, FAO, 1995 are reproduced in this new FAO Series (FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries) with minor editing.

The scientific contributions by experts attending the Technical Consultation in Lysekil, which represent a very useful corpus of additional information on the precautionary approach to fisheries have been published as FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, No. 350, Part 2, Rome, FAO, 1996.

Cover page: the logo of the Institute of Marine Research, Lysekil:

Bronze-age rock carving from the parish of Kville, Bohuslän, Sweden. From thousands of rock-carvings in western Sweden this is the only known scene showing fishing. Originally described by Åke Fredsjö, 1943: En fiskescen på en bohuslänsk hällristning - Göteborgs och Bohusläns Fornminnesförenings tidskrift 1943: 61-71. Later documentation by the same author in: Hällristningar i Kville härad i Bohuslän. Kville socken. Del 1 och 2. - Studier i nordisk arkeologi 14/15, Göteborg 1981, 303 pp., Pl. 158 II. Published by Fornminnesföreningen i Göteborg.


Precautionary approach to capture fisheries and species introductions.

Elaborated by the Technical Consultation on the Precautionary Approach to Capture Fisheries (Including Species Introductions). Lysekil, Sweden, 6-13 June 1995.

FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. No. 2. Rome, FAO. 1996. 54p.


Starting from Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration (UNCED, 1992), the document proposes a definition of the precautionary approach to fisheries as well as an elaboration on the burden of proof. It also contains detailed guidelines on how to conduct fishery management and research and how to develop and transfer fishery technology in a context of uncertainty and responsible fisheries.

Guidelines are also provided on species introduction, voluntary or accidental (including through ballast water and sediment discharge), recognizing the difficulty of ensuring a precautionary approach in relation to that issue. The guidelines are aimed at the governments, fisheries authorities, fishery industry, regional fishery management bodies, NGOs and other interested parties, in order to: (a) raise their awareness about the need for precaution in fisheries, by providing them with background information on the main issues and implications, and (b) provide practical guidance on how to apply such precaution.


All FAO Members and Associate Members
Institute of Marine Research, Lysekil, Sweden
Other interested Nations and International Organizations
FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Fishery Officers in FAO Regional Offices
Non-governmental Organizations

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