Regional Fisheries Bodies

Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) are instruments through which states and organizations are able to work together towards conservation, management, and the development of fisheries. Since international cooperation is required for the long-term sustainability of fisheries, RFBs can play a critical role. Regional Fisheries Bodies can be categorized into three groups. The first category is Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMOs) which are responsible for the management of fishery resources in a particular region of international waters or of highly migratory species. The second group is Advisory Bodies and the third group is Scientific Bodies.

In 1948, The Food and Agriculture Organization set up the first RFB now known as the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission. Today, there are 44 RFBs worldwide, 20 of which are RFMOs. The IGFA has much experience participating in regional fisheries management. Internationally, IGFA has observer status with key RFMOs such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), Western and Central Pacific Fishery Management Commission (WCPFC), Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). These RFMOs are responsible for managing highly migratory species such as tunas, marlin, sailfish, sharks and swordfish. These species don’t know borders, so international cooperation is vital to their management and conservation.

The information found on this page was sourced from the Food and Agriculture Organization. Additional information can be found on the FAO website http://www.fao.org/fishery/rfb/en

Map of RFMOs

Regional Fisheries Management Organizations

CACFAC GFCM IPHC NASCO SEAFO
CCAMLR *IATTC IWC NEAFC SIOFA
CCBSP *ICCAT LVFO NPAFC SPRFMO
CCSBT *IOTC NAFO RECOFI *WCPFC
         
 

Advisory Bodies (Scientific and/or Management)

APFIC COPESCAL FCWC OLDEPESCA SWIOFC
BOB-IGO COREP FFA PICES WECAFC
CECAF CPPS ICES SEAFDEC
CIFAA CRFM MRC SPC
COMHAFAT EIFAAC NAMMCO SRFC

CACFAC

Central Asian and Caucasus Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Commission
OBJECTIVE: to promote the development, conservation, rational management and best utilization of living aquatic resources, as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture in the region (inland waters).

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CCAMLR

Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
www.ccamlr.org
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the Convention is to conserve marine life of the Southern Ocean.  However, this does not exclude harvesting carried out in a rational manner.

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CCBSP

Convention on the Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea
OBJECTIVES:
•     to establish an international regime for conservation, management and optima utilization of pollock resources in the Convention Area;
•     to restore and maintain the pollock resources in the Bering Sea at levels that will permit their maximum sustainable yield;
•     to cooperate in the gathering and examining of factual information concerning pollock and other living marine resources in the Bering Sea;
•     to provide, if the parties agree, a forum in which to consider the establishment of necessary conservation and management measures for living marine resources other than pollock in the Convention Area as may be required in the future.

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CCSBT

Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna
www.ccsbt.org
OBJECTIVE: to ensure, through appropriate management, the conservation and optimum utilization of the global Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) fishery.
The Commission:
•     is responsible for setting a total allowable catch (TAC) and its allocation among the members;
•     takes decisions to support and implement fishery management;
•     acts as a coordination mechanism for member's activities in relation to the SBT fishery

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GFCM

General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean
www.gfcm.org
OBJECTIVE: to promote the development, conservation, rational management and best utilization of living marine resources, as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and connecting waters

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*IATTC

Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
www.iattc.org
OBJECTIVE: to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna and other marine resources in the eastern Pacific Ocean, in accordance with the relevant rules of international law

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*ICCAT

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas  
www.iccat.int
OBJECTIVE: responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas

IGFA Policy Statement for the 18th Special Meeting of ICCAT

IGFA Policy Statement for the 22nd Regular Meeting of ICCAT (2011)

Proposed CITES Listing for Bluefin Tuna

IGFA Policy Statement for the 17th Special Meeting of ICCAT

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*IOTC

Indian Ocean Tuna Commission
www.iotc.org
OBJECTIVE: to manage tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas.  The objective of the Commission is to promote cooperation among its members with a view to ensuring, through appropriate management, the conservation and optimal utilization of stocks covered by this Agreement and encouraging sustainable development of fisheries based on such stocks.

IGFA Position Statement for the 2011 Meeting of the IOTC

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IPHC

International Pacific Halibut Commission
www.iphc.int
OBJECTIVE: the preservation of the halibut fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea

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IWC

International Whaling Commission
www.iwcoffice.org
OBJECTIVE: to establish a system of international regulations to ensure proper and effective conservation and management of whale stocks

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LVFO

Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization
www.lvfo.org
OBJECTIVE: a regional organization under the East African Community responsible for coordinating and managing fisheries resources of Lake Victoria.  The objectives of the Organization are:
•     to foster cooperation among the contracting parties
•     to harmonize national measures for the sustainable utilization of the living resources of the lake;
•     to develop and adopt conservation and management measures

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NAFO

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
www.nafo.int         
OBJECTIVE: to contribute through consultation and cooperation to the optimum utilization, rational management and conservation of the fishery resources of the Northwest Atlantic (except salmon, tunas/marlins, mammals as these are already under the responsibility of other intergovernmental regional fisheries management bodies).

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NASCO

North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization
www.nasco.int
OBJECTIVE: to contribute, through consultation and cooperation, to the conservation, restoration, enhancement and rational management of salmon stocks subject to the Convention taking into account the best scientific evidence available to it.  The Convention applies to the salmon stocks that migrate beyond areas of fisheries jurisdiction of coastal states of the Atlantic Ocean north of 36°N throughout their migratory range.

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NEAFC

North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission
www.neafc.org
OBJECTIVE: to ensure the long-term conservation and optimal utilization of the fishery resources in the Convention Area, providing sustainable economic, environmental and social benefits.  The NEAFC covers all fish, molluscs, crustaceans and including sedentary species within its area of competence, excluding, in so far as they are dealt with by other international agreements, highly migratory species, and anadromous stocks.

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NPAFC

North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission
www.npafc.org
OBJECTIVE: to promote the conservation of anadromous stocks in the North Pacific Ocean and the adjacent seas

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RECOFI

Regional Commission for Fisheries
OBJECTIVE: to promote the development, conservation, rational management and best utilization of living marine resources, as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture within its area of Agreement (Gulfs of the Indian Ocean)

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SEAFO

Southeast Atlantic Fisheries Organization 
www.seafo.org
OBJECTIVE: to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources in the Southeast Atlantic.  In giving effect to the objective of the Convention, the contracting parties, where appropriate through the Organization, will:
•     adopt measures, based on the best scientific evidence available, to ensure the long term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources to which the Convention applies
•     take the precautionary approach in accordance with Article 7
•     apply the provisions of the Convention relating to fishery resources, taking due account of the impact of fishing operations on ecologically related species such as seabirds, cetaceans, seals and marine turtles
•     adopt, where necessary, conservation and management measures for species belonging to the same ecosystem as, or associated with or dependent upon, the harvested fishery resources
•     ensure that fishery practices and management measures take due account of the need to minimize harmful impacts on living marine resources as a whole
•     protect biodiversity in the marine environment

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SIOFA

South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement
OBJECTIVE: to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources other than tuna in areas that fall outside national jurisdictions.

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SPRFMO

South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization
www.southpacificrfmo.org
OBJECTIVE: the international conservation and management of non-highly migratory fisheries and protection of biodiversity in the marine environment extending from the most eastern part of the South Indian Ocean through the Pacific towards the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of South America

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*WCPFC

The Western and Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)
www.wcpfc.int
OBJECTIVE: to conserve and manage tuna and other highly migratory fish stocks across the western and central areas of the Pacific Ocean

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APFIC

Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission
www.apfic.org
The main objective of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) is to promote the full and proper utilization of living aquatic resources of the Asia-Pacific area by the development and management of fishing and culture operations and by the development of related processing and marketing activities in conformity with the objectives of its members, both marine and inland aquatic resources of the Asia-Pacific area.

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BOB-IGO

Bay of Bengal Programme
www.bobpigo.org
The Bay of Bengal Programme (BOBP-IGO) is an inter-governmental organization mandated to enhance cooperation among member countries, other countries and organizations in the region and provide technical and management advisory services for sustainable coastal fisheries development and management in the Bay of Bengal region. The mission of the BOBP-IGO is to promote and establish responsible fisheries governance in a time bound manner to ensure socio-economic security of the coastal small-scale fishers and ecological security of fisheries resources in the Bay of Bengal while catalyzing the growth of the sector to substantiate economic development of the member countries. The objectives of the Organization are to enhance cooperation among member countries, other countries and organizations in the region and provide technical and management advisory services for sustainable coastal fisheries development and management in the Bay of Bengal region.

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CECAF

Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic
The purpose of the Committee is to promote the sustainable utilization of the living marine resources within its area of competence by the proper management and development of the fisheries and fishing operations.

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CIFAA

Committee for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture of Africa
The main objective of the Committee for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture of Africa (CIFAA) is to promote the development of inland fisheries and aquaculture in Africa.

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COMHAFAT

Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean
www.atlafco.org
An inter-governmental organization created in 1989 and composed of 22 states; from south of Namibia to north of Morocco. The Convention establishing COMHAFAT sets the fields and modalities of regional fisheries cooperation among the member states.

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COPESCAL

Commission for Inland Fisheries of Latin America
The general objective of the Commission is to promote programmes of research and development leading to the rational utilization of inland fisheries resources; assist Member Governments in the Region in establishing the scientific basis for regulatory and other measures for the conservation and improvement of inland fishery resources; support the development of aquaculture, and encourage education and training to reach these objectives.

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COREP

Regional Fisheries Committee for the Gulf of Guinea
The main objectives of the Regional Fisheries Committee for the Gulf of Guinea (COREP) are:
•     to harmonize fisheries policy and legal frameworks of parties;
•     to determine a concerted attitude towards the activities of foreign fishing vessels and to give priority to the needs of the fishing vessels originating from member countries;
•     to preserve and protect aquatic ecosystems, both marine and inland waters;
•     to harmonize members’ national regulations with a view to having a unified regulation fixing the conditions of fishing and the control of fishing operations in the area covered by the Convention;
•     to assess the status of shared or transboundary stocks;
•     to collect, analyze and make available scientific data as well as information and techniques for fisheries and aquaculture

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CPPS

Permanent Commission for the South Pacific
To secure for the people of the States Parts of CPPS food supplies and provide the means of developing their economy through the sustainable exploitation of marine resources

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CRFM

Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism
www.caricom-fisheries.com
The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) was established in 2002 by the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as a regional fishery body serving the Caribbean region. The overall objective of the CRFM is “to promote and facilitate the responsible utilization of the region's fisheries and other aquatic resources for the economic and social benefits of the current and future population of the region”.

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EIFAAC

European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisory Commission
The objectives of the Commission are:
•     promote the sustainable development, utilization, conservation, management, protection and restoration of European inland fisheries and aquaculture resources based on the best available scientific advice and the application of an ecosystem approach, the precautionary approach and the need to safeguard biodiversity;
•     identify and address strategic issues for European inland fisheries and aquaculture and provide advice and recommendations on future policies, measures and related actions needed to address the issues in a rapid and accountable manner as requested by Members;
•     provide advice to managers/decision makers of inland fisheries and aquaculture as requested based on scientific, social, economic, legal and other factors;
•     serve as a forward-looking international platform for the collation, validation dissemination and consideration of information on common challenges and opportunities to European inland fisheries and aquaculture, and to this end, inter alia, proactively identify:

o     relevant scientific, social, economic, legal, statistical and other information and make recommendations for decision makers taking into account the need to protect and preserve the aquatic ecosystems;
o     common problems and solutions, and harmonized approaches as appropriate

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FCWC

Fishery Committee of the West Central Gulf of Guinea
www.fcwc-fish.org
The objective of the Fishery Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) is to promote cooperation among the contracting parties with a view to ensuring, through appropriate management, the conservation and optimum utilization of the living marine resources covered by the Convention and encouraging sustainable development of fisheries based on such resources.

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FFA

Forum Fisheries Agency
www.ffa.int
The main objective of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) is "to enable Member Countries to manage, conserve and use the tuna resources in their Exclusive Economic Zones and beyond, through enhancing national capacity and strengthening regional solidarity".

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ICES

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
www.ices.dk
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) coordinates and promotes marine research on oceanography, the marine environment, the marine ecosystem, and on living marine resources in the North Atlantic. ICES is a scientific and research organization for the provision of information and advice to member countries and international bodies.

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MRC

Mekong River Commission
www.mrcmekong.org
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) member countries have agreed to cooperate in all fields of sustainable development, utilization, management and conservation of the water and related resources of the Mekong River Basin including, but not limited to irrigation, hydro-power, navigation, flood control, fisheries, timber floating, recreation and tourism, in a manner to optimize the multiple-use and mutual benefits of all riparians and to minimize the harmful effects that might result from natural occurrences and human-induced activities. Related to fisheries and fishery related issues, the MRC members have agreed to cooperate in fisheries management and to protect the environment, natural resources, aquatic life and conditions, and ecological balance of the Mekong River Basin from pollution or other harmful effects.

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NAMMCO

North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission
www.nammco.no
The main objective of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) is to contribute through regional consultation and cooperation to the conservation, rational management and study of marine mammals in the North Atlantic.

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OLDEPESCA

Latin American Organization for Fisheries Development
www.oldepesca.com
The main purpose of the organization is to meet Latin American food requirements adequately, making use of Latin American fishery resource potential for the benefit of Latin American people, by concerted action in promoting the constant development of the countries and the permanent strengthening of regional cooperation in this sector. 

Its objectives are:
•     to promote adequate utilization of fishery resources, preserving the marine and freshwater environment through the application of rational policies for the conservation of resources;
•     to encourage and strengthen the Latin American cooperation in the development of the rational exploitation of sea and freshwater fishery resources, for the benefit of the peoples in the region;
•     to increase substantially a food supply of sufficient nutritional value, the prices, preparation and presentation of which are in keeping with the needs of the low-income inhabitants of the region;
•     to increase, in the same manner, consumption of marine and freshwater products in the region;
•     to encourage, similarly, export diversification and expansion;
•     to promote marketing systems to expand the regional exchange of products of the sector;
•     to promote generation of jobs and improvement of incomes, through greater social and economic development of the communities related to the fish of the region;
•     to improve and strengthen the productive, institutional, organizational and human resources capacity of the sector;
•     to promote and organize utilization of the joint negotiating capacity of the Latin American region, as well as to determine, identify and channel international, technical and financial cooperation, through concrete regional coordination and cooperation within the scope of the sector

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PICES

The North Pacific Marine Science Organization
www.pices.int
The North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), an inter-governmental scientific organization, was established in 1992 to promote and coordinate marine research in the northern North Pacific and adjacent seas.

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SEAFDEC

Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center 
www.seafdec.org
The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) is a regional treaty organization established in December 1967 to promote fisheries development in Southeast Asia. In April 2009, during its 41st meeting, the SEAFDEC Council adopted a new mandate: “to develop and manage the fisheries potential of the region by rational utilization of the resources for providing food security and safety for people and alleviating poverty through transfer of new technologies, research and information dissemination activities”.

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SPC

Secretariat of the Pacific Community
www.spc.int
The main objective of the Agreement is to encourage and strengthen international cooperation in promoting the economic and social welfare and advancement of the peoples of the South Pacific region. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) vision for the region is that of a secure and prosperous Pacific Community, whose people are healthy and manage their resources in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable way. The SPC’s activities are not restricted to fisheries and also cover agriculture and plant protection, climate change, forestry, biosecurity and trade, genetic resources, human development, education, health information and cultural changes.

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SRFC

Subregional Fisheries Commission
www.csrpsp.org
The main objectives of the Subregional Fisheries Commission (CSRP/SRFC) are:
•     to harmonize the long-term policies of member states in the preservation, conservation and exploitation of the fisheries resources for the benefit of the respective populations;
•     to strengthen cooperation among member states

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SWIOFC

Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission
www.swiofp.net
The main objective of the Commission is to promote the sustainable utilization of the living marine resources of the South West Indian Ocean region, by the proper management and development of the living marine resources, without prejudice to the sovereign rights of coastal States and to address common problems of fisheries management and development faced by the Members of the Commission.

The Commission has due regard for and promotes the application of the provisions of the FAO Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries, including the precautionary approach and the ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

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WECAFC

Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission 
The general objective of the Commission is to promote the effective conservation, management and development of the living marine resources of the area of competence of the Commission, in accordance with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and address common problems of fisheries management and development faced by members of the Commission. 

The work of the Commission is guided by the following three principles:
•     promote the application of the provisions of the FAO Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries and its related instruments, including the precautionary approach and the ecosystem approach to fisheries management;
•     ensure adequate attention to small-scale, artisanal and subsistence fisheries;
•     coordinate and cooperate closely with other relevant international organizations on matters of common interest

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