Fisheries Compliance

Only good on paper or enforced by a dedicated mandate with adequate patrolling assets ?

Fisheries compliance is an integral component of natural resource management strategy for every coastal nation. International Fisheries Laws constitute the legal regime under which individual fisheries are managed through laws and regulations embedded within national legal systems. Other laws include local laws, regulations and customary laws. The scope of national laws differ by a particular country and the legal system inherited from its colonial powers.

Among the international laws there are both binding (Hard Laws) and voluntary agreements (Soft Laws). The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (of December 1982) is the overarching international instrument for sustainable management and utilization of fisheries resources in the world’s oceans. UNCLOS set the context for subsequent  fisheries agreements such as UN Fish Stocks Agreement, FAO Compliance Agreement and the more recent UN Port State Measures Agreement.

Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.” – Robert F. Kennedy

International Fisheries Laws

Fisheries compliance


SOFT LAWS (are laws without legally binding force)

  • FAO International Plan of Action (IPOA) on IUU Fishing
  • FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance

HARD LAWS (are legally binding)

  • UNCLOS (According to Article 8(1) of UNCLOS, internal waters of a State are the waters on the landward side of the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. Article 3 of UNCLOS, every State has the right to establish its territorial sea up to 12 nautical miles from its baselines. The sovereignty of a coastal State extends to the territorial sea. According to Article 33(2) of UNCLOS, the contiguous zone could extend up to 24 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.  According to Article 57 of UNCLOS, the exclusive economic zone is a 200 nautical miles zone from the baselines.
  • UN Fish Stocks Agreement
  • UN Port State Measures Agreement
IUU Risk Intelligence