Responsible Fishing Practices for Sustainable Fisheries

Fishing responsibly for sustainable oceans

© FAO/Alberto Gonzalo Sanz

The environmental and biodiversity impacts of fishing operations, including those caused by fishing gear misuse or mismanagement, continue to undermine the sustainability of fisheries and the conservation of our ocean and are a major challenge to be addressed within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

FAO’s 1995 Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) sets out the core principles, goals and elements for action that States should address to achieve responsible conservation and management of the world’s fisheries. Over the years FAO has developed several associated policy instruments which provide detailed guidance to States, regional fisheries bodies, including regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), and other relevant parties, on particular aspects of the CCRF.

These International Guidelines include those directly relating to interactions between fishing operations and the marine environment, namely the International Guidelines on the Management of Bycatch and the Reduction of Discards (2011)the Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear (2018), and the Technical Guidelines to Prevent and Reduce Bycatch of  Marine Mammal in Capture Fisheries (2021).

Implementation of these policy instruments, their associated measures and tools and an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, is required to effectively address unsustainable and harmful fishing practices.