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Photo: fiskeri.no.Photo: fiskeri.no

Cooperation on specific areas

11.10.2010 // Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) are international organisations formed by states set to manage a specific area. Through the RFMOs, States and organisations work together towards the conservation, management and/or development of fisheries.

Some RFMOs manage all the fish stocks found in a specific area, while others focus on particular highly-migratory species throughout vast geographical areas. Currently, Norway participates in several RFMOs. 

Most of the organisations are open both to states in the region, so-called coastal states, and states that have an historical interest in the fisheries concerned. These organisations are sometimes also referred to as regional fishery bodies. Whereas some RFMOs have a purely advisory role, most RFMOs have a decision making role. This includes setting quotas, implementing limits to fishing effort, as well as implementing technical regulations and control measures.

In addition to managing fisheries, many of these organisations also have a duty to conserve all species associated or affected by their fisheries – including seabirds, turtles, dolphins, sharks and non-target fish. These responsibilities have been outlined in international agreements governing the oceans, such as FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, both established in 1995. 

There are several reasons as to why Norway is participating in RFMOs.  First, Norway manages vast sea areas. Many of the fish stocks in the North-East Atlantic migrate in several states’ jurisdictional territorial waters and the high seas. Through the means of RFMOs, these living resources are managed sustainably between the states that have an interest in them. Additionally, most RFMOs are also often heavily involved in efforts to combat Illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries by implementing measures such as control, monitoring and surveillance. IUU-fisheries pose a threat to the sustainable management of the living resources. To read more about IUU-fisheries, see here

Second, Norway gets the opportunity to promote its principles of sustainable management internationally. One important cause for Norway has been to ban discard. For example, in November 2009, the RFMO that covers the North-East Atlantic adopted the draft provisions to ban discard of the most important stocks regulated by NEAFC in international waters. The decision was an important step towards sustainable and responsible management of fish stocks in the area.


Some of the RFMOs Norway is a member of:

The North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC)The South-East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO)

Convention on Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)

North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO)

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO)



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