Monday, June 8th is World Oceans Day so our Map of the Week this week focuses on the Geography of our oceans. International laws and regulations on the high seas are difficult to enforce as they are outside any one country’s national jurisdiction, but the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s (UNFAO) Regional Fisheries Management Organizations are one multilateral cooperative effort between groups of nations to ensure sustainable fishing.
There are currently 18 different Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) that each govern an area of the ocean by setting catch limits, controlling what fishing methods are permitted, and establishing which countries are allowed to fish in certain areas of the high seas. Some RFMOs have a more specific focus, such as one type of fish, while others are more broad.
The map we made below features all of the RFMOs except for the IWC, which covers the entire ocean.
The 18 current RFMOs are:
- CCAMLR – Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
- CCBSP – Convention on the Conservation & Management of the Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea
- CCSBT – Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna
- GFCM – General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean
- IATTC – Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
- ICCAT – International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas
- IOTC – Indian Ocean Tuna Commission
- IPHC – International Pacific Halibut Commission
- IWC – International Whaling Commission
- NAFO – Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
- NASCO – North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization
- NEAFC – North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission
- NMFS – National Marine Fisheries Service
- NPAFC – North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission
- PSC – Pacific Salmon Commission
- SEAFO – South East Atlantic Fisheries Organization
- SIOFA – South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement
- SPRFMO – South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization
- WCPFC – Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
Unfortunately, despite these multilateral efforts to prevent illegal fishing through RFMO boundaries, fish stocks continue to decline and fish populations around the world are facing threats of extinction. Increased international efforts to control illegal fishing are still required to ensure the survival of the world’s marine resources. World Oceans Day is one international effort to increase awareness of the importance of protecting our oceans. Visit the official website here to learn more about ongoing efforts and how you can help: http://www.worldoceansday.org/.