At UN, countries agree on guidelines to better manage the world’s fish stocks

24 March 2006 –

With the world’s appetite for fish continuing to grow and three-quarters of global fish stocks either fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted, guidelines for strengthening a landmark treaty to protect those stocks were adopted today at United Nations headquarters, as delegations wrapped up five days of preparations for a May review of the treaty.

New political commitments may be necessary to better conserve and manage fisheries through the existing agreement for the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, delegates to the meeting agreed.

The guidelines developed during the meeting will be used to assess the adequacy of the Agreement when countries meet for the review conference from 22 to 26 May.

The recommended criteria for that assessment cover the extent to which States parties have adopted measures to conserve and manage straddling fish stocks, such as cod, halibut, Pollock and squid, and migratory fish stocks such as tuna, swordfish and oceanic sharks.

Criteria also cover the extent to which States parties have sought to eliminate overfishing, to minimize catch of unwanted species, to establish new regional management organizations and to strengthen international cooperation.

Adopted in 1995, the 40-article agreement has 57 States parties, although, during the meeting, Japan and Indonesia expressed their intention to ratify it.

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