United Nations
A Blueprint for Re-Building Fisheries
by Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) (United Nations entity)
On a global basis, a significant proportion of fish stocks are being harvested at biologically unsustainable levels (from 10% in the 70s, to around 31% today). Current overfishing reduces long-term supply and potential of the world’s oceans to cater to the needs of a world population, projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050.

The need to address overfishing within the broader context of responsible fisheries management was one of the concerns that led to the drafting, negotiation and adoption of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in 1995.

While progress has been made, more still needs to be done. The Blue Growth Initiative launched by FAO in 2013 and prioritizing the sustainable management of natural aquatic resources, while fully taking into consideration environmental, social and economic needs, merges perfectly with a new emphasis on rebuilding fisheries for people and the environment.

Such fisheries rebuilding frameworks have already been established in areas challenged by overfishing, and are reaping rewards across developed countries that border the Atlantic and North Pacific. In these cases, stocks have been characterized and reference points for rebuilding stocks have been negotiated. This has quickly been followed by clearer and better estimates of the potential weights and values that could be returned through the activity of rebuilding, and discussions over the best approach and speed to adopt to reach agreed goals.

FAO has an important role to play in supporting these countries and regions in their fisheries rebuilding exercises, particularly in assisting countries to implement the Code of Conduct and other supporting instruments, in providing related assistance to member countries, in strengthening regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and the crucial role they play in overseeing robust fisheries management policies and priorities within regions, in assisting countries in gathering better national data and statistics, and in building country and regional capacity to gather data and statistics that will help them formulate robust fisheries management policies.

FAO’s commitment to assisting SIDS and developing countries in delivering their rebuilding programs that are nationally directed and suited to the local situation would continue as priorities, and FAO would facilitate cross-regional and south-south learning and sharing of experiences.

FAO is committed to working alongside member countries to deliver rebuilding fisheries programmes that align with the aspirations of their people, so that fisheries reach their full potential for people and the environment.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Science-based fisheries management plans
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
  • Reduction of fisheries by-catch and product waste/losses
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
  • Economic benefits from sustainable aquaculture/mariculture
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Type of commitment
  • Legal/policy/institutional measures
  • Access to market-based instruments
  • Transfer of fishing technology
  • Access to coastal fishing grounds
  • Access and capacity building for eco-labelling and traceability systems
  • Community empowerment for fisheries management
December 2017
Within agreed work plan, negotiated with a range of beneficiary FAO Member Countries, focused mainly on SIDS and Least Developed Countries
December 2018
As per milestones as articulated in individual Country work plans
December 2019
As per milestones as articulated in individual Country work plans
December 2020
Final deliverable outcomes as articulated in individual Country work plans
Financing (in USD)
500,000 USD
In-kind contribution
As required
Staff / Technical expertise
Staff time HQ, Regional and National Offices
Basic information
Time-frame: June 2017 - December 2020
UN FAO Member Countries and SIDS Regional Organisations
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Kim Friedman, Mr, kim.friedman@fao.org, +39 06570 56510
Rome, Italy
Other SDGs
United Nations