Fisheries are dependent upon good governance and a healthy ocean environment. Various types of land- and seabased pollution as well as effects from climate change (e.g. ocean acidification, altered temperatures) may affect the fisheries. Due to Norway´s geographical situation and the northward ocean currents we depend on international agreements to minimize pollution originating outside Norwegian waters.
Increased focus on the environmental effects of fisheries activities in itself has led to the introduction of the precautionary approach as well as the application of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management. Another example of increased environmental focus on fisheries activities is the increasing interest in marine protected areas as a tool, not only to manage the environment but also to manage fisheries.
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 as well as the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), addressed fisheries issues in great detail. Important environmental bodies like the cooperation under the 1992 Biodiversity Convention (CBD) and, at the regional level, the regime for the prevention of pollution of the marine Environment in Northeast Atlantic (OSPAR). The Rio+20 confirmed the role of the healthy oceans in marine food production and the need for improved implementation of existing international goals.
Environmental NGOs pays increasing interest in fisheries politics. All major international environmental NGOs have now fisheries as an important part of their agenda.