1. Mission
  2. Species and stocks coverage
  3. Area of competence
  4. WECAFC Maps
  5. Legal framework
  6. Languages
  7. Members
  8. Structure
  9. Activities and meetings
  10. Publications
  11. Contact
MissionObjectiveThe general objective of the Commission is to promote the effective conservation, management and development of the living marine resources of the area of competence of the Commission, in accordance with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and address common problems of fisheries management and development faced by members of the Commission.

The work of the Commission is guided by the following three principles:
  • promote the application of the provisions of the FAO Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries and its related instruments, including the precautionary approach and the ecosystem approach to fisheries management;
  • ensure adequate attention to small-scale, artisanal and subsistence fisheries; and
  • coordinate and cooperate closely with other relevant international organizations on matters of common interest.
FunctionsThe Commission has the following main functions and responsibilities:
  • to contribute to improved governance through institutional arrangements that encourage cooperation amongst members;
  • to assist its members in implementing relevant international fisheries instruments, in particular the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and its related International Plans of Action;
  • to promote, coordinate and, as appropriate, undertake the collection, exchange and dissemination of statistical, biological, environmental and socio-economic data and other marine fishery information as well as its analysis or study;
  • to promote, coordinate and, as appropriate, strengthen the development of institutional capacity and human resources, particularly through education, training and extension activities in the areas of competence of the Commission;
  • to promote and facilitate harmonizing of relevant national laws and regulations, and compatibility of conservation and management measures;
  • to assist its members in and facilitate, as appropriate and upon their request, the conservation, management and development of transboundary and straddling stocks under their respective national jurisdictions;
  • to seek funds and other resources to ensure the long-term operations of the Commission and establish, as appropriate, a trust fund for voluntary contributions to this end;
  • to serve as a conduit of independent funding to its members for initiatives related to conservation, management and development of the living resources in the area of competence of the Commission.
Species and stocks coverageAll living marine resources, without prejudice to the management responsibilities and authority of other competent fisheries and other living marine resources management organizations or arrangements in the area. Area of competence
WECAFC area of competence - High seas, National waters
The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries. Dashed lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.
WECAFC Jurisdiction zones
WECAFC Jurisdiction zones

WECAFC Depth zones
WECAFC Depth zones
Legal framework


The WECAFC was established in 1973 by Resolution 4/61 of the FAO Council under Article VI (1) of the FAO Constitution. Its statutes were amended by the FAO Council at its Seventy-fourth Session in December 1978 and by the Hundred and Thirty-first Session of the FAO Council in November 2006.


Resolution of the members of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission on strengthening the implementation of international fisheries instruments
LanguagesEnglish, French, Spanish. Members Membership is open to coastal States whose territories are situated wholly or partly within the area of the Commission or States whose vessels engage in fishing in the area of competence of the Commission that notify in writing to the Director-General of the Organization of their desire to be considered as members of the Commission.

Current membership: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, European Union, France, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Republic of Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent/Grenadines, Spain, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States of America, Boliv Rep of Venezuela.

StructurePrincipal bodyThe main governing body is the Commission. It is composed of all members. Meetings of the Commission are normally held every two years.Scientific Advisory Group (SAG)The SAG is constituted of five scientists with suitable scientific qualifications and experience in fisheries who serve in their personal capacity. The SAG provides scientific advice to the Commission and its ad hoc working groups, assesses and reports to the Commission on the status of stocks in the area covered by the Commission and accesses the situation, trends and prospects of fisheries in the region. The SAG meets every two years in the year when the Commission meets.Working groups

Fishery management advice and recommendations, based on the best available scientific information, are provided to member countries for their implementation by dedicated Working Groups, established by the Commission.

The Working Groups that were established or confirmed by the 14th session of the Commission in 2012 are the following:

  1. OSPESCA/WECAFC/CRFM/CFMC Working Group on Caribbean Spiny Lobster
  2. CFMC/OSPESCA/WECAFC/CRFM/CITES Working Group on Queen Conch
  3. WECAFC Working Group on the Management of Deep-Sea Fisheries
  4. WECAFC/OSPESCA/CRFM/CFMC Working Group on Recreational Fisheries
  5. CRFM/WECAFC/JICA/IFREMER Working Group on Fisheries Using FADS
  6. CRFM/WECAFC Working Group on Flyingfish in the Eastern Caribbean
  7. WECAFC/CRFM/IFREMER Working Group on Shrimp and Groundfish in the Northern Brazil-Guianas Shelf
  8. CFMC/WECAFC/OSPESCA/CRFM Working Group on Spawning Aggregations
  9. Regional Working Group on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (RWG-IUU)
  10. WECAFC Working Group for the Conservation And Management of Sharks in the Wider Caribbean Region
  11. WECAFC/CRFM/OSPESCA Fisheries Data and Statistics Working Group (FDS-WG)

Most working groups are joint working groups with other regional partner institutions, such as the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Organization of Fisheries for the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA), the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council (CFMC) and with the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea (IFREMER).

Fishery scientists, experts, managers and decision-makers of member countries, Regional partner organizations and NGOs participate in the working groups, which have specific terms of reference and are time bound. The data used by the working groups to generate fishery management advice and recommendations are collected by the participating countries and NGOs.

The working groups meet on a regular basis, the timing of which is decided by the members.

SecretariatThe Secretariat is provided by FAO. It is based in the Subregional Office for the Caribbean (SLC). The WECAFC is a member of the Regional Fishery Body Secretariats Network, which meets biennially.
Activities and meetingsThe work programme of the WECAFC, that was approved by the Commission for the 2012/13 biennium, has its activities arranged under the following four components:
  • Promote the application of the FAO Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries and its related instruments.
  • Support the development and management of responsible small-scale, artisanal and subsistence fisheries and aquaculture.
  • Coordinate and cooperate with other relevant international organizations on matters of common interest
  • Manage the work programme and carry-out a strategic reorientation of the functions and mandate of the Commission
These activities are conducted in addition to the advisory services (policy advice, provision of information, management advice, legal, etc.) the Commission usually provides.

Commission reports
Working groups/Party reports
Lesser Antilles reports


Ms Yvette Diei Ouadi

FAO Secretary to WECAFC

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Subregional Office for the Caribbean (FAO-SLC)
2nd floor , United Nations House, Marine Gardens, Hastings
Christ Church

Telephone: +1(246) 426-7110/11; Ext.249

Fax: +1(246) 427-6075

Email: WECAFC-Secretariat@fao.org

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