FAO - Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance


The FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance spell out a range of actions that countries can take to ensure that vessels registered under their flags do not conduct IUU fishing, including monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) activities, such as vessel monitoring systems (VMS) and observers. They promote information exchange and cooperation among countries so that flag states are in a position to refuse to register vessels that are "flag-hopping" by attempting to register with another flag state or to refuse vessels that have been reported for IUU fishing. The Guidelines also include recommendations on how countries can encourage compliance and take action against non-compliance by vessels, as well as on how to enhance international cooperation to assist developing countries to fulfil their flag state responsibilities. Although the guidelines are voluntary, their endorsement by the Twenty-first session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), is a public signal by countries of their intent to adhere to a shared set of standards for flag state performance in the fight against IUU fishing activities.