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Fish stocks are rapidly diminishing, partly due to modern harvesting technology. Given that fishing is a critical part of the livelihoods and nutrition in the developing world, there is an urgent need for better governance of this natural resource.

Within its mandate on poverty alleviation, the World Bank is encouraged to assess and take action on threats to ocean and coastal marine resources as they may affect client countries whose economies are marine-based, or whose coastal communities are largely dependent on goods and services from coastal and marine resources. In order to achieve these objectives, the Bank focuses on efforts to combat illegal fishing as part of its governance program. This is being undertaken under PROFISH, the World Bank’s global partnership program on sustainable fisheries. PROFISH aims to bring donors and stakeholders together in support of a common vision for sustainable fisheries development planning and management at the national, regional and global levels.

The Environmental and International Law Unit of the World Bank’s Legal Vice Presidency works together with fisheries specialists at the Bank in the process of building constructive dialogue with countries for the establishment of good governance of resources; and provides guidance on how to strengthen domestic legal and institutional frameworks and regional cooperation.

International instruments on fisheries governance include:

While these instruments stipulate the main principles for better governance of this resource, the design and implementation of national legislative and institutional capacity is central to operationalize the objectives of sustainable fisheries’ governance.

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Last updated: 2009-06-25

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