Strengthening Regional Fisheries Management Organisations

image of Strengthening Regional Fisheries Management Organisations

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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Expanding membership in the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT)

The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) was established as a relatively small RFMO in 1994, comprising just three Parties, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Following a period during which the three Parties were unable to come to an agreement over a total allowable catch, serious concerns were expressed about the ability of the CCSBT to function effectively. Compounding this was the increased activity in the southern bluefin tuna fishery by economies that were not party to the Convention. It became clear that it was necessary to, in addition to agreeing on a TAC, bring these other economies under the management arrangements of the CCSBT. This chapter reviews the CCSBT’s policy initiatives to incorporate new members and Cooperating Non-Members. It examines: the need for the policy change; how, and the extent to which, obstacles to its implementation were addressed; the success of the changes; and the key policy insights of relevance to other regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs).

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