The promotion of responsible fishing and fisheries activities, taking into account all their relevant biological, technological, economic, social, environmental and commercial aspects. The implementation of national policies for responsible conservation of fisheries resources and fisheries management and development. Providing standards of conduct for all persons involved in the fisheries sector.
The fishing, fish processing, and trading industries must demonstrate to the public that they can act responsibly to protect marine biodiversity.
World fisheries have become a market-driven, dynamically developing sector of the food industry. Coastal states have striven to take advantage of their new opportunities by investing in modern fishing fleets and processing factories in response to growing international demand for fish and fishery products. By the late 1980s it became clear that fisheries resources could no longer sustain such rapid and often uncontrolled exploitation and development, and that new approaches to fisheries management embracing conservation and environmental considerations are needed.
Fisheries management should promote the maintenance of the quality, diversity and availability of fishery resources in sufficient quantities for present and future generations in the context of food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Management measures should not only ensure the conservation of target species but also of species belonging to the same ecosystem or associated with or dependent upon the target species.
Conservation and management decisions for fisheries should be based on the best scientific evidence available, also taking into account traditional knowledge of the resources and their habitat, as well as relevant environmental, economic and social factors.
Regional fisheries management organizations should apply a precautionary approach widely to conservation, management and exploitation of living aquatic resources in order to protect them and preserve the aquatic environment, taking account of the best scientific evidence available.
Selective and environmentally safe fishing gear and practices should be further developed and applied, to the extent practicable, in order to maintain biodiversity and to conserve the population structure and aquatic ecosystems and protect fish quality.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries was adopted on 31 October 1995. In a non-mandatory manner fashion, the Code establishes principles and standards applicable to the conservation, management and development of all fisheries. The Code provides a framework for national and international efforts to ensure sustainable exploitation of aquatic living resources in harmony with the environment. This Code sets out principles and international standards of behaviour for responsible practices with a view to ensuring the effective conservation, management and development of living aquatic resources, with due respect for the ecosystem and biodiversity. It also covers the capture, processing and trade of fish and fishery products, fishing operations, aquaculture, fisheries research and the integration of fisheries into coastal area management.