U.N. offers illegal fishing proposal

Feb. 28, 2013 at 3:04 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says member countries have agreed to guidelines targeting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The voluntary guidelines, developed after years of negotiations, aim to cut down on such activities by improving the accountability of flag states, countries that register fishing vessels and authorize them to fly their flags, a U.N. release said Thursday.

The proposed guidelines would help countries comply with international obligations regarding the flagging and control of fishing vessels and offer ways to deter non-compliance, the U.N. said.

"We all face the challenge of sustainability, and these guidelines give countries a new way to work together to meet this challenge," FAO Assistant Director-General for Fisheries and Aquaculture Arni Mathiesen said.

The FAO said it would help developing countries create adequate legal and regulatory frameworks to ensure adequate vessel control and improved surveillance of fishing vessels.

"In certain cases, they may lack the institutional setup and technical know-how," Matthew Camilleri of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Economics Division said.

"They may be short on human and financial resources, or they may lack the drive to direct their efforts and to invest their available resources in the effective implementation of their duties under international laws relevant to fishing, in which case there is a greater need to build awareness of the long-term benefits of compliance," he said.

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