Responsible Fishing Practices for Sustainable Fisheries

Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear

© FAO/World Animal Protection

Gear marking has been recognized since the 1990s as a tool to improve overall management of fisheries and to prevent and reduce the problem of abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) and potential ghost fishing. It also contributes to improved safety at sea and assists identification of IUU fishing activities.  

The Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear (VGMFG) were endorsed by the thirty-third FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI 33), in July 2018.  

This followed an Expert Consultation (2016), a Technical Consultation (2018), the completion of a pilot gear-marking study in Indonesia in small-scale gillnet fisheries performed in conjunction with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) (2018), and a study on “Stakeholders' views on methods to identify the ownership and track the position of drifting fish aggregating devices used by tuna purse seine fisheries” (2018).

FAO is developing a manual on methods for marking fishing gear. Contributions with information on existing gear marking methods, gear marking trials and relevant footage, are welcome. Kindly click on this link and fill the form.