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 undertook a first global study, which included a questionnaire that was well responded by FAO Members, which concluded that although transshipment might be regulated to some extent, monitoring and control of transshipment activities was generally lacking, creating loopholes.

Subsequently, upon the recommendation of COFI, FAO followed with 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 also identified the main types of transshipment activities.

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 Voluntary Guidelines were endorsed at the thirty-fifth Session of COFI, in September 2022.

The objective of the Voluntary Guidelines is to assist States, regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), and other intergovernmental organizations, when developing new transshipment regulations or revising existing ones.

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

FAO is undertaking a series of regional workshops to raise awareness about the guidelines and their contribution to sustainable fisheries.


Regional Workshops on the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment


Madrid, Spain, 11-14 December 2023


Bangkok, Thailand, 23-27 October 2023


Port Vila, Vanuatu, 17-21 July 2023

Africa and the Near East

Nairobi, Kenya, 19-23 June 2023

Latin America, the Caribbean and North America

Bridgetown, Barbados, 7-10 March 2023

Technical Consultation on Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment

30 May - 3 June 2022

Expert Consultation on Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment

11 - 15 October 2021, virtual