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

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 Rights-based Management Workshop, 10-12 April 2019, Rome
Category: Deep Seas & Biodiversity
Type of document: Reports
From 10 to 12 April 2019, a group of international experts met in Rome to identify and evaluate the issues relating to existing and future possible implementation of rights-based management of high seas fisheries. The group reviewed the development of international law as it relates to the high seas fisheries. Particular emphasis was given to the Convention on the Law of the Sea and how it provides for access to high seas fisheries and the obligations this access involves and the implications for those wishing to enter fully prescribed fisheries. This assessment provided the starting point to the legal basis that allows Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) to manage harvesting entitlements to fish stocks or to effort, capacity, or habitat impact in their jurisdiction in a manner that ensures that the incentives for effective and efficient management from rights-based management (RBM) that are found in seas under national jurisdiction may also be obtained from high seas fisheries.
A review of the application of the FAO ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) management within the areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)
Category: Deep Seas & Biodiversity
Type of document: Reports
The publication documents the results of the review of the level of implementation of the FAO Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) by the fisheries management bodies in each of the different ABNJ regions. The review was designed to help identify future activities by the ABNJ Deep Sea Project to address gaps and capacity development and make recommendations to strengthen EAF among deep-sea fisheries management bodies and/or their members. The information to complete the EAF reviews was largely obtained from web-based materials. To assist with the accuracy of these desktop assessments, following initial drafting of each EAF background report and associated EAF assessment, both documents were sent to the respective RFMO secretariats. Comments and/or suggestions provided by the secretariats were then addressed with revised versions of the background reports and review assessments generated. Based on these revised reports, the comparative analyses were finalized and a full report was drafted. Being a desk-top assessment of the level of implementation of the EAF approach by each of the RFMO management bodies, the study had a number of caveats including only being able to measure systems and processes, not outcomes. A more complete assessment of EAF adoption and especially the outcomes would require direct involvement of the various stakeholders, including all relevant management, compliance and scientific bodies, contracting parties (CP), non-contracting parties (NCP), vessel owners, crews, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), etc.


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