Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries

Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries is a reference tool for the sound management and responsible conduct of fisheries on a national and international basis. It consists of a series of principles, goals and action items. The code provides guidance on key issues, including:

  • Fisheries management
  • Flag countries
  • Port countries
  • Aquaculture development
  • Integration of fisheries into coastal area management
  • Post-harvest practices and trade responsibilities
  • Fisheries research
  • Regional and international cooperation

Canada adopted the code in 1995 and three years later became the first country in the world to develop its own Code of Conduct based on the international version.

The following four International Plans of Action were developed by FAO as guides for implementation of the International Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries:

International Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity calls on fishing nations and regional fisheries organizations to achieve the efficient, equitable and transparent management of fishing capacity worldwide and to support the establishment by FAO of an international record of fishing vessels operating in the high seas.

International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PDF 219.81 KB) is a voluntary initiative that provides guidance for combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in nationally controlled waters and on the high seas.

  • Canada launched its National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing based on the international guidelines, in 2005.

International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks calls on countries to develop a national approach to the conservation and management of shark species—both in directed shark fisheries and as bycatch in other fisheries.

International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries calls on countries to monitor the level of seabirds being caught in longline fisheries to assess whether a problem exists and the necessity of developing a national approach to reducing bird fatalities in these fisheries.