Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability and biodiversity in the ABNJ

Launch of deep-sea fisheries E-learning course and Review of Implementation of International Guidelines

New resources for more sustainable management of deep-sea fisheries in the high seas

8 May 2024

Rome--, During an online event on 8 May 2024, The Common Oceans Deep-sea fisheries project of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) unveiled a new study on the implementation of FAO's 2008 deep-sea fisheries guidelines along with an e-learning course on deep-sea fisheries, contributing to its efforts to safeguard deep-sea ecosystems and ensure the responsible utilization of marine resources.

The launch of the FAO Deep-sea Fisheries E-learning Course and the Review of the Implementation of the International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas signals a renewed focus on sustainable fisheries management, underscoring the importance of global cooperation in addressing the challenges posed by deep-sea fisheries.

“Deep-sea fisheries remain a management priority due to their economic benefits, providing employment, sustenance, and livelihoods,” said Viktoria Varga Lencses, Global Coordinator of the Common Oceans Program, underscoring the significance of responsible fisheries management in safeguarding marine ecosystems.

Eszter Hidas, Common Oceans Deep-sea fisheries project manager, introduced the first milestone of the project, the DSF E-learning Course, highlighting its comprehensive overview of deep-sea fisheries management in areas beyond national jurisdiction. "This course covers both the policy and legal, as well as the operational aspects of management, and outlines the roles and responsibilities of States at both national and regional levels" said Hidas.

Anthony Thompson, a deep-sea fisheries expert, presented the Review of the Implementation of the International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas. He underscored the progress made since the adoption of the guidelines in 2008, particularly in protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). "There has been a transformational change in bottom fisheries management towards defining bottom fishing areas and protecting VMEs " noted Thompson, while also emphasizing the need for further measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of deep-sea fish stocks.

Miguel Bernal, Executive Secretary of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), and Craig Loveridge, Executive Secretary of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO), shared insights on the successes and challenges in implementing the DSF Guidelines in their respective areas. Bernal stressed the importance of collaborative efforts among stakeholders, while Loveridge highlighted the need for enhanced monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.

With over 250 participants from across the globe attending the webinar, the Q&A session was very interactive. The project team promoted the Common Oceans Deep-sea Fisheries Project Technical Forum at the webinar, which aims to promote discussions and sharing of information, initiatives and lessons learnt related to the sustainable management of deep-sea fisheries, by bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders.

Common Oceans Deep-sea fisheries project

The Deep-sea fisheries project is part of the Common Oceans Program promoting sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation in the ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction. It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), led by FAO, executed by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and works in collaboration with the seven RFMOs that manage deep-sea fisheries, the private sector, and international organizations.