The international plans of action (IPOAs) are voluntary instruments elaborated within the framework of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. They apply to all States and entities and to all fishers. Four IPOAs have been developed to date.


The first three IPOA's were developed as the COFI Members in 1997 found it necessary to have some form of international agreement in order to manage the issues concerned in compliance with the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The most suitable instrument for each of the three texts was developed in the course of two intergovernmental meetings, open to all FAO Members, held in 1998. These IPOAs were adopted by the twenty-third Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries in February 1999 and endorsed by the FAO Council at the session it held in November 2000.

The IPOA-IUU was developed as a voluntary instrument, within the framework of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, in response to a call from the Twenty-third Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries. A draft text for an IPOA-IUU was elaborated at an Expert Consultation in Sydney, Australia, in May 2000. This document formed the basis for negotiations at Technical Consultations that were held at FAO Headquarters, Rome, in October 2000 and February 2001, respectively. The IPOA-IUU was adopted by consensus at the twenty-fourth Session the FAO Committee on Fisheries on 2 March 2001 and endorsed by the Hundred and Twentieth Session of the FAO Council on 23 June 2001.

The purpose of the Consultation was for FAO Members to consider and if possible approve the plans of action for the management of shark fisheries and the reduction of incidental catch of seabirds in longline fisheries, as well as the plan of action or an alternative document for management of fishing capacity (Press Release 98/64).
In order to prepare the draft Plans of Action, three Technical Working Groups (TWGs) were formed, one for each subject. The TWGs met as follows:

FAO Members were invited to provide comments on the draft Plans of Action produced by the TWGs. These comments were considered in the course of the Preparatory Meeting which was held at FAO Headquarters 22-24 July 1998. Subsequently, a revised set of documents have been prepared and will be submitted to the Consultation for its consideration:

  • Elements of an International Instrument for the Management of Fishing Capacity
  • International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks
  • International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries

A "Technical Consultation on the Measurement of Fishing Capacity" was held in Mexico from November 29 to December 3, 1999.

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