Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing


©FAO/Sia Kambou/FAO

The international community has for some time expressed concerns about the risks that transshipment could represent in relation to supporting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing operations and other criminal activities.

FAO has undertaken an in-depth global study on transshipment confirming that a lack of regulation, monitoring and control increases the risk of IUU caught fish entering the seafood supply chain, undermining sustainable and socially responsible fisheries.

The study was published in 2020 and presented in three regional webinars for the regions of America, Europe/Africa/Near East and Asia Pacific.

A summary of the findings was presented to the thirty-fourth Session of COFI in 2021, which called upon FAO to proceed with developing draft Voluntary Guidelines for the regulation, monitoring and control of transshipment through an Expert Consultation and a member-led Technical Consultation. The plan is to present the Voluntary Guidelines for their endorsement at the thirty-fifth Session of COFI, in September 2022.

The objective of the Voluntary Guidelines will be to assist States, regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), and other intergovernmental organizations, with respect to their development of new transshipment regulations or the review of existing regulations, with a view to integrating these within the broader regulatory framework for fisheries management.

The Voluntary Guidelines will also constitute a valuable supplement to other international instruments to combat IUU fishing, in particular port State measures.

The FAO Secretariat prepared a preliminary draft of the Voluntary Guidelines that was reviewed by the Expert Consultation in October 2021, later forming the basis for the negotiations at the Technical Consultation held on 30 May - 3 June 2022. The final guidelines, were adopted by the Technical Consultation on 7 July 2022, and presented to the thirty-fifth Session of the Committee of Fisheries (COFI) in September 2022 which endorsed them.


Technical Consultation on Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment

30 May - 3 June 2022

Expert Consultation on Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment

11 - 15 October 2021, virtual