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European Commission - Press release

Regional Fisheries Management Organizations: Fit for the future

Brussels, 31 May 2012 - On 1 June, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki will host a full day event to discuss on how Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) need to manage fisheries in the most efficient and sustainable way across the world's oceans. This conference brings together, for the first time, representatives, chairs and executive secretaries from 15 RFMOs stretching from the North Atlantic to the South Antarctic and from the Indian Ocean to the West Pacific. The event aims to enhance dialogue amongst RFMOs and to exchange views with European fisheries managers and Members of the European Parliament on policies which will make RFMOs fit for the challenges of the future. Guest speaker Dr Jane Lubchenco, US Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, will explain how US fisheries policy initiatives relate to RFMO management.

In line with the proposed reform of the European Common Fisheries Policy, this event is part of the EU commitment to promote responsible fishing outside European waters in view of the important role the European Union plays in world’s oceans and seas. As global player, the EU is party to 15 RFMOs and wants to make sure that these RFMOs assume the key role they have to play in the sound management of shared fisheries resources in the most efficient and effective way.

The debate will focus on issues such as the need for better data and enhanced science as well as better compliance with agreed rules to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Other essential elements such as the need to adopt proper conservation measures for sustainable stock levels and capacity building for developing countries will also be discussed.

Commissioner Maria Damanaki said: "RFMOs play a key role for sustainable fisheries management worldwide. Dialogue and networking events such as the one I am hosting tomorrow are essential to move our sustainability agenda forward on the international stage."

The event, which will take place at the Charlemagne building, is open to the press and will be webstreamed, at :

An informal press point with Ms Damanaki and Dr Lubchenco will be organized at 12h45.


Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs):

RFMOs are international organisations formed by countries with fishing interests in a geographical area. Some RFMOs manage all the fish stocks found in a specific area, while others focus on particular highly-migratory species, notably tuna, throughout vast geographical areas.


Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy:

In July 2011, the Commission proposed a thorough reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. One aspect of the reform concerns the External Dimension, ie EU fisheries activities outside EU waters. The Council of Fisheries Ministers adopted conclusions on the External Dimension in March. In line with the Commission's proposals, the conclusions highlight that within international bodies and in its relations with third countries, the EU must act abroad as it does at home and promote good governance and a sound management of the sea in the rest of the world.

See COM(2011)424 final of 13.7.2011 and

Contacts :

Oliver Drewes (+32 2 299 24 21)

Lone Mikkelsen (+32 2 296 05 67)

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