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Decision-making in Regional Fishery Bodies or Arrangements: the evolving role of RFBs and international agreement on decision-making processes.
FAO Fisheries Circular No. 995

FAO Fisheries Circular No. 995

DECISION-MAKING IN REGIONAL FISHERY BODIES OR ARRANGEMENTS: THE EVOLVING ROLE OF RFBS AND INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT ON DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES

by
Judith Swan
SwanSea Oceans Environment Inc.

 
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
Rome, 2004
   
 

Table of Contents

   

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© FAO 2004

ISSN 0429-9329

PREPARATION OF THIS CIRCULAR

This Circular was prepared within the framework of the Regular Programme as part of on-going activities of the FAO International Institutions and Liaison Service (FIPL) aimed at providing information on activities of regional fishery bodies.


Swan, J.*

Decision-making in Regional Fishery Bodies or Arrangements: the evolving role of RFBs and international agreement on decision-making processes.

FAO Fisheries Circular. No. 995. Rome, FAO. 2004. 82p.

ABSTRACT

This Circular describes the evolving role of Regional Fishery Bodies or Arrangements (RFBs), from the advisory bodies established during the first half of the twentieth century to the current trend of establishing management bodies. It also describes the recognition in recent international instruments of the authority of RFBs as management bodies, a response to the need for strengthened fisheries governance by RFBs. References to the role of RFBs and decision-making are reviewed in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement, the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.

Key areas relating to decision-making in RFBs described in the international instruments include the precautionary approach, agreement on decision-making procedures that facilitate the adoption of conservation and management measures in a timely and effective manner, transparency in the decision-making process, decision-making procedures for dispute prevention, and strengthening decision-making to implement relevant policies. Information complied on selected RFBs is summarized to illustrate some activities and procedures that fall within the areas addressed in the international instruments. The information - given in detail for each selected RFB in Appendix 2 and in a summary chart in Appendix 3 - includes a profile of relevant RFB functions and requirements as follows: area of competence, membership, organization, observers, decision-making by principal body, objection procedures and dispute settlement.

This Circular is descriptive only and presents information on selected RFBs in summary form. There is no assessment or analysis of the decisions taken, as the objective of this review is to promote a better understanding of the evolution of the role of RFBs and relevant international agreement on the elements involved in decision-making processes.


* With preliminary work by David Evans.


Table of Contents


LIST OF ACRONYMS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1. BACKGROUND - THE EVOLVING ROLE OF REGIONAL FISHERY BODIES OR ARRANGEMENTS (RFBs) AND RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

1.1 The evolving role of RFBs
1.2 The role of RFBs under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UN Convention)
1.3 The role of RFBs under the Post-UNCED international fisheries instruments

1.3.1 The Post-UNCED international fisheries instruments
1.3.2 The 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement
1.3.3 The IPOA-IUU

2. GOVERNANCE AND DECISION-MAKING IN RFBs

2.1 Strengthening fisheries governance by RFBs
2.2 Decision-making objectives, features and processes in RFBs
2.3 Basis for this review of decision-making in selected RFBs

3. REVIEW OF KEY DECISION-MAKING RULES AND PROCESSES IN SELECTED RFBS

3.1 Precautionary approach
3.2 Function of RFBs - agreement on decision-making procedures

3.2.1 Membership requirements and allocation criteria for new members
3.2.2 Subsidiary bodies: clear and timely procedures for making recommendations/giving advice
3.2.3 Principal bodies: clear and timely procedures
3.2.4 Entry into force in an appropriate time period
3.2.5 An objection procedure consistent with the criteria of timeliness and effectiveness

3.3 Transparency
3.4 Dispute prevention
3.5 IPOA-IUU

4. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX 1: SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS ON REGIONAL FISHERY BODIES IN POST-UNCED INTERNATIONAL FISHERY INSTRUMENTS

1993 FAO Compliance Agreement
1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement
1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
2001 International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU)

APPENDIX 2: INFORMATION ON SELECTED REGIONAL FISHERY BODIES

Global

International Whaling Commission (IWC)

Trans-Ocean

Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources (CCAMLR)

Regional

General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)
International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission (IBSFC)
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO)
North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC)
South East Atlantic Fisheries Organization (SEAFO)

Species

Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)
Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC)
International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)
North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO)

APPENDIX 3: SUMMARY INFORMATION RELATING TO DECISION-MAKING BY RFBS IN THIS REVIEW


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