Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability in the ABNJ
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GEF Council approves USD 27 million to continue FAO-led Common Oceans Program

Boost for the sustainable management of the oceans amid massive support for FAO projects
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Four major achievements in helping protect our oceans

Celebrating encouraging results from the Common Oceans ABNJ Program
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Regional Fisheries Management Organizations boosting engagement in development of new ‘High-Seas Treaty’

Common Oceans ABNJ Program organizes side event to showcase how lessons learned can help shape future actions

The Global Sustainable Fisheries Management and Biodiversity Conservation in the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Program (ABNJ) commonly referred to as the Common Oceans ABNJ Program – is a broad-scale, innovative approach to achieve efficient and sustainable management of fisheries resources and biodiversity conservation in marine areas that do not fall under the responsibility of any one country.


  • Sustainable management of tuna fisheries & biodiversity conservation
  • Sustainable fisheries management and biodiversity conservation of deep-sea living marine resources & ecosystems
  • Ocean Partnerships for sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation
  • Strengthening global capacity to effectively manage ABNJ

Latest resources

Not a drop in the ocean: Key successes Common Oceans ABNJ Program 2014-2019
Category: Common Oceans
Type of document: Brochures
The Common Oceans ABNJ Program brought together global stakeholders and partners to promote the sustainable use of fisheries and the protection of marine biodiversity in the ABNJ. The Program, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), involved the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank Group (WBG), as well as Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and other intergovernmental organizations, national governments, the private sector, civil society and academia. This report presents the results obtained by the Common Oceans ABNJ Program between 2014-2019. It highlights the value, importance and benefits of sustainably managing fisheries and biodiversity conservation in the ABNJ, and how the collateral impact of fishing is less harmful to the marine environment now than when the program started out in 2014.
Electronic monitoring in tuna fisheries
Category: Tuna & Biodiversity
Type of document: Technical papers
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a serious threat to sustainable fisheries, marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of legitimate fishers globally. To address it, the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project is exploring ways to strengthen and harmonize the use of monitoring, control and surveillance tools, and combat IUU fishing in tuna fisheries across the marine areas beyond national jurisdiction. One tool is the use of electronic monitoring systems to monitor individual vessel operations at sea. In a typical electronic monitoring application, cameras, recording video or still images, are deployed at key points on the vessel to allow a view of the fishing operation. The video footage is stored on hard drives that government officials can use to review compliance with regulations, as well as record detailed data on catch and effort. It was envisaged that industry would have access to these data for its own operational purposes.To test the best way to incorporate this technology as complementary compliance tool, two pilot trials were set up: one in Ghana to cover the domestic tuna purse seine fleet fishing; and one in Fiji to cover the domestic longline fisheries. Close collaboration was established between national governments and industry for implementation.The overall aim of the pilots was to develop an effective implementation process at the national level, so that the information could be properly utilized for compliance purposes. This report documents the successful completion of these trials, and the lessons learned that could benefit electronic monitoring programmes elsewhere.
Report of the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Deep-sea Fisheries under the Ecosystem Approach Project
Category: Deep Seas & Biodiversity
Type of document: Reports
The inception workshop of the areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) Deep-Sea Fisheries under the Ecosystem Approach (DSF) Project was held virtually in two sessions using the video conferencing tool “Zoom” on 24 August 2020 and 26 August 2020. The workshop was attended by representatives and potential project partners, including seven Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), the GEF Secretariat and two industry organizations. The primary objective of the inception workshop was to update the project partners on the project’s scope, including objectives, components and outputs and to review the projects delivery structure, including the roles of the Implementing Agency and Executing Agency. The timeline for the development of the DSF Project was also discussed. The inception workshop participants took note and commented on the outputs and activities that are being developed by the project design team, recognizing that this is still work in progress which will require further discussions and inputs. The participants also took note of the respective roles of GEF implementing and executing agencies, but were unable to make suggestions as to suitable and acceptable executing agencies for the DSF Project. Participants took note of the DSF Project timeline, recognizing that it could be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.


United Nations Environment Programme
The World Bank
World Wide Fund For Nature
Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Conservation International