What are Regional Fishery Bodies (RFBs)?
Regional Fishery Bodies (RFBs) are a mechanism through which States or organizations that are parties to an international fishery agreement or ("agreement" is fundamental, and different from arrangement) arrangement work together towards the conservation, management and/or development of fisheries. (Some RFBs, especially those with an ecosystem mandate, work with seabirds, etc that are connected with fisheries but are not fish stocks per se.)
The mandates of RFBs vary. Some RFBs have an advisory mandate, and provide advice, decisions or coordinating mechanisms that are not binding on their members. Some RFBs have a management mandate – these are called Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs). They adopt fisheries conservation and management measures that are binding on their members.
The functions of RFBs also vary. They can include the collection, analysis and dissemination of information and data, coordinating fisheries management through joint schemes and mechanisms, serving as a technical and policy forum, and taking decisions relating to the conservation, management, development and responsible use of the resources.
The difference between a "regional fishery body" and a "regional fishery arrangement" is that the former has established a Secretariat that operates under a governing body of member States and the latter does not have.