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The Strategy The FishCode-STF Project


Knowledge of the status and trends of capture fisheries, including socio-economic aspects, is a key to sound policy-development, better decision-making and responsible fisheries management. It is necessary at the national level for the maintenance of the food security and for describing social and economic benefits of fisheries. Data and information are also required at the national level for fisheries policy-development and management that is a dynamic interdisciplinary process that depends on adequate and reliable information. They are also required at both national and local levels to implement policy and management interventions and to assess the success or otherwise of the policies and to monitor the performance of fisheries management.

The collection and analysis of fisheries data is a costly and timely exercise. Hence, the need for fishery information and the objectives of the statistical system must be clearly defined, and through review of national statistical framework including their linkage with priorities and objectives, the requirements of data users must also be undertaken. However, chronic problems of institutional weaknesses, low priorities given, and deficiencies of conventional production oriented systems are prevalent in many countries in this region, and resulting unreliable poor quality of information lead to non- or limited use of statistics for fishery management and policy development. This would further result in dwindling support for the development of statistical systems. There is an urgent need to terminate this vicious cycle of problems.Concerned with those persistent deficiencies of fisheries data and information collection systems worldwide, FAO has introduced the "Strategy for improving information on status and trends of capture fisheries" in order to provide a practical framework for the improvement of knowledge and understanding of fishery status and trends. It is a document that provides guiding principles for implementation arrangements, and sets forth objectives, policies, programmes, actions and decisions that define who will do what and why.

The Strategy-STF is a voluntary instrument that applies to all States and entities. Its overall objective is to provide a framework, strategy and plan for the improvement of knowledge and understanding of fishery status and trends as a basis for fisheries policy-making and management for the conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources within ecosystems. Following the introductory section, the nature and scope of the Strategy is specified. This is followed by the Strategy's objective, guiding principles and the required actions. These required actions fall under nine major areas, with a primary emphasis on the need for capacity building in developing countries. Finally, promotion and implementation mechanisms are specified, including the roles of States, regional fishery bodies and arrangements, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), development partner agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Strategy full document


COFI at its Twenty-fifth Session recognized the need for extra-budgetary support for implementation of the Strategy and accordingly endorsed a proposal to develop a multilateral project under the FAO FishCode Programme as a means to accomplish this. Three Members have so far committed funds in support of the project and a project, which document is being developed in consultation with donors. The project became operational in November 2004. Further donor support is being sought for additional components of the project. The FishCode-STF Project will share the global scope of the overall FishCode Programme, as well as its special emphasis on developing regions and countries. Actions under the project include:
  • Setting up a global inventory of fish stocks and fisheries
  • Development of data collection systems for small-scale and multispecies fisheries
  • Development of criteria and methods for ensuring information quality and security
  • Development of arrangements for the provision and exchange of information
  • Support to and participation in the Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS)
  • Sustaining data collection and information systems
  • Expanding the scope of information on status and trends of fisheries, including the need to incorporate ecosystem considerations into fisheries management
  • Capacity-building in developing countries
  • Participation in working groups in assessing the status and trends of fisheries
The overall FishCode-STF Project is designed to execute these actions through two main components, as follows:
  • Component 1: "Development of inventories, methodologies and operational guidelines"
  • Component 2: "Field training and implementation"

FishCode-STF project paper

FishCode-STF project paper in French

FishCode-STF project paper in Spanish






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