|Code of Conduct for
FAO, Rome, 1995
Article 6: Principles
6.1 States and users of living aquatic resources should conserve
aquatic ecosystems. The right to fish carries with it the obligation to do
so in a responsible manner so as to ensure effective conservation and
management of the living aquatic resources.
6.2 Fisheries management should promote the maintenance of the quality,
diversity and availability of fishery resources in sufficient quantities
for present and future generations in the context of food security,
poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Management measures
should not only ensure the conservation of target species but also of
species belonging to the same ecosystem or associated with or dependent
upon the target species.
6.3 States should prevent overfishing and excess fishing capacity and
should implement management measures to ensure that fishing effort is
commensurate with the productive capacity of the fishery resources and
their sustainable utilization. States should take measures to rehabilitate
populations as far as possible and when appropriate.
6.4 Conservation and management decisions for fisheries should be based on
the best scientific evidence available, also taking into account
traditional knowledge of the resources and their habitat, as well as
relevant environmental, economic and social factors. States should assign
priority to undertake research and data collection in order to improve
scientific and technical knowledge of fisheries including their
interaction with the ecosystem. In recognizing the transboundary nature of
many aquatic ecosystems, States should encourage bilateral and
multilateral cooperation in research, as appropriate.
6.5 States and subregional and regional fisheries management organizations
should apply a precautionary approach widely to conservation, management
and exploitation of living aquatic resources in order to protect them and
preserve the aquatic environment, taking account of the best scientific
evidence available. The absence of adequate scientific information should
not be used as a reason for postponing or failing to take measures to
conserve target species, associated or dependent species and non-target
species and their environment.
6.6 Selective and environmentally safe fishing gear and practices should
be further developed and applied, to the extent practicable, in order to
maintain biodiversity and to conserve the population structure and aquatic
ecosystems and protect fish quality. Where proper selective and
environmentally safe fishing gear and practices exist, they should be
recognized and accorded a priority in establishing conservation and
management measures for fisheries. States and users of aquatic ecosystems
should minimize waste, catch of non-target species, both fish and non-fish
species, and impacts on associated or dependent species.
6.7 The harvesting, handling, processing and distribution of fish and
fishery products should be carried out in a manner which will maintain the
nutritional value, quality and safety of the products, reduce waste and
minimize negative impacts on the environment.
6.8 All critical fisheries habitats in marine and fresh water ecosystems,
such as wetlands, mangroves, reefs, lagoons, nursery and spawning areas,
should be protected and rehabilitated as far as possible and where
necessary. Particular effort should be made to protect such habitats from
destruction, degradation, pollution and other significant impacts
resulting from human activities that threaten the health and viability of
the fishery resources.
6.9 States should ensure that their fisheries interests, including the
need for conservation of the resources, are taken into account in the
multiple uses of the coastal zone and are integrated into coastal area
management, planning and development.
6.10 Within their respective competences and in accordance with
international law, including within the framework of subregional or
regional fisheries conservation and management organizations or
arrangements, States should ensure compliance with and enforcement of
conservation and management measures and establish effective mechanisms,
as appropriate, to monitor and control the activities of fishing vessels
and fishing support vessels.
6.11 States authorizing fishing and fishing support vessels to fly their
flags should exercise effective control over those vessels so as to ensure
the proper application of this Code. They should ensure that the
activities of such vessels do not undermine the effectiveness of
conservation and management measures taken in accordance with
international law and adopted at the national, subregional, regional or
global levels. States should also ensure that vessels flying their flags
fulfil their obligations concerning the collection and provision of data
relating to their fishing activities.
6.12 States should, within their respective competences and in accordance
with international law, cooperate at subregional, regional and global
levels through fisheries management organizations, other international
agreements or other arrangements to promote conservation and management,
ensure responsible fishing and ensure effective conservation and
protection of living aquatic resources throughout their range of
distribution, taking into account the need for compatible measures in
areas within and beyond national jurisdiction.
6.13 States should, to the extent permitted by national laws and
regulations, ensure that decision making processes are transparent and
achieve timely solutions to urgent matters. States, in accordance with
appropriate procedures, should facilitate consultation and the effective
participation of industry, fishworkers, environmental and other interested
organizations in decision making with respect to the development of laws
and policies related to fisheries management, development, international
lending and aid.
6.14 International trade in fish and fishery products should be conducted
in accordance with the principles, rights and obligations established in
the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement and other relevant
international agreements. States should ensure that their policies,
programmes and practices related to trade in fish and fishery products do
not result in obstacles to this trade, environmental degradation or
negative social, including nutritional, impacts.
6.15 States should cooperate in order to prevent disputes. All disputes
relating to fishing activities and practices should be resolved in a
timely, peaceful and cooperative manner, in accordance with applicable
international agreements or as may otherwise be agreed between the
parties. Pending settlement of a dispute, the States concerned should make
every effort to enter into provisional arrangements of a practical nature
which should be without prejudice to the final outcome of any dispute
6.16 States, recognising the paramount importance to fishers and
fishfarmers of understanding the conservation and management of the
fishery resources on which they depend, should promote awareness of
responsible fisheries through education and training. They should ensure
that fishers and fishfarmers are involved in the policy formulation and
implementation process, also with a view to facilitating the
implementation of the Code.
6.17 States should ensure that fishing facilities and equipment as well as
all fisheries activities allow for safe, healthy and fair working and
living conditions and meet internationally agreed standards adopted by
relevant international organizations.
6.18 Recognizing the important contributions of artisanal and small- scale
fisheries to employment, income and food security, States should
appropriately protect the rights of fishers and fishworkers, particularly
those engaged in subsistence, small-scale and artisanal fisheries, to a
secure and just livelihood, as well as preferential access, where
appropriate, to traditional fishing grounds and resources in the waters
under their national jurisdiction.
6.19 States should consider aquaculture, including culture-based
fisheries, as a means to promote diversification of income and diet. In so
doing, States should ensure that resources are used responsibly and
adverse impacts on the environment and on local communities are minimized.