Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing
©FAO/Matthew Camilleri/FAO

Regional Mechanisms

In addition to, and in support of, the international framework to combat IUU fishing, a number of regional mechanisms exist to support the efforts against IUU fishing.

These mechanisms exist primarily in the form of Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs) of RFMOs, but also through regional working groups, fora and task forces that include the elimination of IUU fishing as a primary objective.



RFMOs play an important role both in promoting awareness of the international instruments among its contracting parties, and also in ensuring that Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs) support and complement international conservation and management measures.

RFMOs have often been leaders in this area, initiating CMMs, complementary training for contracting parties and the development of information exchange mechanisms which complement those at the global level.

Instruments such as the PSMA, UNCLOS, the Fish Stocks Agreement, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, IPOA-IUU, the Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance and the Voluntary Guidelines for Catch Documentation Schemes, all explicitly identify RFMOs when discussing international cooperation and the implementation of these instruments.

Some of the key initiatives RFMOs have and continue to develop include IUU vessel lists, CMMs on port State measures and flag State responsibilities, regional catch documentation and catch certification schemes, as well as information exchange mechanisms and monitoring and enforcement.

More information on the continually increasing initiatives of Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) is available here.


Other Regional Mechanisms

In addition to the binding CMMs of RFMOs, regional working groups, task forces, and arrangements to discuss emerging challenges and initiatives regarding IUU fishing also exist in a number of regions throughout the world.

These mechanisms may be through regional agreements or through voluntary arrangements, and often work with the support of NGOs, and may involve one or more RFMOs or RFBs.