UNGA Stresses Sustainable Fisheries’ Contribution to Sustainable Development

11 December 2012: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution on sustainable fisheries that recognizes the contribution of fisheries to sustainable development (document A/67/L.22). The resolution also reflects the call made at Rio+20 for the adoption, by 2014, of strategies to assist developing countries, particularly the least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), in developing their national capacity to conserve, sustainably manage and realize the benefits of sustainable fisheries.

UNGA considered the UN Secretary-General's report on sustainable fisheries (document A/67/315), which notes that fish provides about 4.3 billion people worldwide with approximately 15% of their intake of animal protein, as well as livelihoods and income for a significant portion of the world's population. However, it also stresses that the state of the world's fish stocks has not kept pace with population growth and the expansion of trade. The report underscores that unsustainable fishing practices, such as overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, continue to erode the resource base, and that these practices are compounded by cross-sectoral impacts, such as climate change, pollution and habitat degradation.

The resolution on sustainable fisheries addresses: ensuring that decisions taken by regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) were based on the best available scientific information; implementing plans of action for the conservation and management of sharks; analyzing the impact of industrial fishing on species low down on the food chain; and collecting data on the use of fish aggregating devices.

The resolution reflects commitments made by States at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) on the need to: eliminate IUU fishing; eliminate harmful fishing subsidies; and enhance actions to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems, including through the use of impact assessments. [UNGA Press Release] [Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries]