International legal instruments and related agreements provide an important framework for the establishment of a lasting and effective management of fisheries and oceans. The United Nations plays an important role in international fisheries and oceans governance.
Global cooperation through the United Nations has resulted in the development of a number of treaties that are the foundation of international fisheries governance and the related activities carried out in fishing regions worldwide by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs).
- United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) a comprehensive legal text that establishes jurisdiction and governance parameters of key issues related to the world’s oceans.
- United Nations Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks(commonly called the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, or UNSFA) provides the framework for the conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks in high seas areas regulated by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs).
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has developed the following agreements to reinforce international legal instruments by providing guidance that can be incorporated into national and regional fisheries management activities.
- Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
- International Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity
- International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
- International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks
- International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries