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The present guidelines have been prepared by the Fisheries Department, with the collaboration of the Legal Office of FAO, on the basis of comments and suggestions received on the draft guidelines for responsible aquaculture development, which were provided for information to the Technical Consultation on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing, Rome, 26 September - 5 October 1994. In finalizing this document, due consideration was given to additional comments and suggestions received and to related expert views voiced at major international meetings and/or publications. The document has been prepared under the coordination of R.L. Welcomme of the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service, and includes additional experiences gained from other staff’s work related to recent trends and developments associated with the inland fisheries sector U. Barg, A. Bonzon, A.F.. Born, W. Edeson, R. Grainger, D. Gréboval, J. Kapetsky, C. Lería, G. Marmulla, K. Rana, H. Naeve, E. Ruckes and R. Willmann from within FAO assisted and contributed to this effort in various ways. Additional comments were provided by I. Cowx (HIFI, UK), and I. Payne (MRAG, UK).

It has to be stressed that these guidelines have no formal legal status. They are intended to provide general advice in support of the implementation of Articles of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries pertinent to the development and management of inland fisheries. The document provides the reader with general annotations to the provisions of the Code which are meant to serve only as general guidance, and should be taken as suggestions or observations for consideration when addressing issues related to the implementation of the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Furthermore, any eventual differences in the terminology employed should not be understood as intending reinterpretation of the Code. It should also be remembered that since the guidelines are intended to be flexible and capable of evolving as circumstances change, or as new information becomes available, these guidelines may be further revised and complemented by other guidelines, notes, etc. on specific issues, some of which are already under elaboration. In this regard, readers are invited to collaborate with FAO providing any information on relevant technical, policy or legal issues which might be useful in updating, evaluating and improving this document as well as in developing more specific guidance documentation aiming at the promotion of responsible development and management of inland fisheries in order to contribute to sustainable food supply and to the conservation of the inland aquatic environment.


All FAO Members and Associate Members
Interested Nations and International Organizations
FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Fisheries Officers in FAO Regional Offices
Interested Non-Governmental Organizations

FAO Fisheries Department.
Inland fisheries.
FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. No. 6. Rome, FAO. 1997. 36p.


Inland fisheries differ from most other fisheries forming the subject of the Code in their high degree of inter-relatedness with other users of the aquatic resource. In most areas of the world the principal impacts on fisheries do not originate from the fishery itself but from outside the fishery. Consequently most aspects of the Code directed at the conservation and sustainability of the resource are under the control of a wide range of interests of superior social and financial implications for society. Implementation of the provisions of the Code in these cases is more a question of negotiation and consultation with these interests. The fishery has to be managed within the constraints imposed by these external sectors and, while there is space for conventional management of the fishery as such, much attention is paid to techniques for mitigation or rehabilitation of external impacts. Inland fisheries are increasingly sharing the problems of aquaculture in that there are attempts in many fisheries to deliberately influence the composition and productivity of the fish assemblages in favour of societal goals. These introduce concepts of sustainability which correspond more to agriculture than to conventional capture fisheries and here interpretation of some articles of the Code has to be liberal.

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