Key opportunities and challenges
- Managing excess capacity in the world's fishing fleets
- Allocation of fishing opportunities on an equitable and sustainable basis
- Adoption of ecosystem-based management of fisheries
Regional fisheries management organisations or arrangements (RFMO) play a critical role in the global system of fisheries governance. They are the primary mechanism for achieving co-operation between and among all fishing countries, including coastal states, that is essential for the effective management of international fisheries.
The essential purpose of an RFMO is to provide an effective forum for international co-operation in order to enable states to agree on conservation and management measures for those fisheries.
Experience has shown that without co-operation in ‘common pool’ resources, open to exploitation by all, the objectives of long-term sustainability and optimum utilisation become extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. In the case of international fisheries, co-operative management frameworks have, of necessity, been voluntary arrangements between nation-states, entered into voluntarily on a regional basis.
States that are unwilling to do so cannot be compelled to join regional agreements. States that are not party to regional agreements are however bound by a duty to cooperate with the rules of such agreements.