Strengthening Regional Fisheries Management Organisations

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With the development and entry into force of the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement in 1995, the international community made a commitment to strengthen Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), established to deal with the management of shared high seas resources. This study takes stock of the changes made in RFMOs, highlighting a gradual process of improvement that has translated into significant success stories.  While there is no single recipe for this process, ensuring that the fundamental building blocks are in place to help create and maintain the economic and political momentum for change is important. Altering the underlying economic incentives may help to better align the interests of member countries, allowing coalitions for change to develop within the membership. The study and its analysis is built on evidence from a range of case studies of RFMOs, most notably the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CSBT), the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) and the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC).

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This report was written by Anthony Cox, Leonie Renwrantz and Ingrid Kelling in the Fisheries Policies Division of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate. The case study of the CCSBT was prepared by Frank Meere and Mary Lack (Sustainable Fisheries Management, Australia). A number of people provided valuable comments on earlier drafts of the report including Carl-Christian Schmidt and Sung-Bum Kim (OECD), Kjartan Hoydal (Executive Secretary NEAFC), and Johanne Fischer (Executive Secretary NAFO). The report was prepared for publication by Louise Schets.

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