Joint Declaration on action for Wild Marine Fisheries

Following wide consultation, the I.S.U. has produced a Joint Declaration on Action for Wild Marine Fisheries. The motivation for the Declaration came from the observation that there is often more agreement on how to reform fisheries than is generally believed to be the case. Through signalling that there is indeed broad consensus on the opportunity of more sustainable fisheries management and the ways to achieve this goal, it is hoped that the Declaration might play a small part in helping to build the confidence, energy and partnerships necessary to achieve the scale of change required.

We are very grateful to the large and diverse group of fishing organisations, companies and non-governmental groups that have signed up to the I.S.U.’s Joint Declaration on Action for Wild Marine Fisheries.

Among the many benefits that humankind derives from the seas and oceans, the catch of wild fish makes vital contributions to economic development, food security and livelihoods. The catching, processing and sale of fish supports some 200 million jobs and has been estimated to generate around $274 billion dollars of GDP, while contributing to the health and food security of people worldwide, in both developed and developing countries. There is therefore a tremendous opportunity both to maintain and expand these benefits.Wild fisheries are sustained by complex ecological systems which as well as the production of fish bring other benefits. These include the coral reefs upon which so much tourism is founded, and the coastal mangroves which store carbon and protect property and life from inundation by the sea.Some fisheries are managed sustainably and others are recovering. However, about 30 per cent are in decline or have collapsed. We believe it is both possible and essential to reverse the decline of these wild fisheries. Improving fisheries management would protect jobs and food security and substantially increase the economic value of the sector. It would also increase the resilience of fisheries in the face of future challenges, including the impacts of climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution. Several broad areas for action have emerged as a result of recent research, analysis and discussion. We identify several priorities.Fisheries must be managed at levels of fishing effort consistent with long-term sustainable yields, in accordance with sound scientific advice.  Furthermore, the management of fisheries is inseparable from the ecosystems in which they reside. If achieved in smart and collaborative ways, approaches based on the management of entire ecosystems, underpinned by the best available science, could add significantly to the benefits we derive from the marine environment. We therefore see value in taking a holistic ‘ecosystem-based’ approach toward fisheries management. All stakeholders have roles to play in this process. 

Several tools have already proved effective in achieving the robust management needed for more sustainable fisheries. These include rights-based management, more selective fishing gear, a culture of compliance, better and more transparent data collection, effective monitoring and enforcement and an awareness of marine spatial considerations. All of these and other measures can be combined in different ways to achieve robust fisheries management based on good information. We believe that improved collaboration between stakeholders in the identification and implementation of transition strategies using existing tools could rapidly deliver significant benefits. 

Sustainable fisheries are profitable fisheries in which good management is rewarded by good livelihoods, dignified employment and strong communities. That is why sound economics must underpin sustainable fishing. Sound economics must create positive incentives for robust management so as to achieve long-term sustainability while at the same time making short-term unsustainable practices less attractive.

Critical for success at all levels is the empowerment and participation of fishers. We urge all stakeholders to work in partnership with those who take to the seas in search of the fish which provide society with such an important and healthy source of food. 

There are many opportunities for positive change, at the level of specific fisheries, at the regional level and internationally. And while the aims outlined here may be challenging to implement, we are ready to collaborate in finding workable solutions, and to take these through the transition from good ideas, to consensus and then to action.

Ahold ANIFPO Bahamas Marine Exporters Association Brakes
Commercial Fishermen of America Co-Operative Asset Management Environmental Justice Foundation FCF
Fishing Industry Association Friends of the Environment  IBERCONSA
Icelandic Group INFOFISH IUCN Lyons Seafood
 M & J Seafood North Devon Fishermen's Association  Nederlandse Vissersbond New England Seafood
North Atlantic Holdings PACIFICAL Pacific Rich Resources PFA
PITIA PNA Papua New Guinea NFU RD Tuna Canning
Sainsburys The Saucy Fish Co. Seachill Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
Thai Union Group Tri Marine VisNed Waitrose
ASDA Asociacion de Armadores de Buques de Pesca de Fresco en Santa Pola Asociación de Grandes Atune Asociación Nacional de Armadores de Buques Congeladores de Pesco de Marisco
Austral Fisheries Balfego Grup Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance BioMar
Birds Eye Iglo Findus Bahamas National Trust Bumble Bee Foods LLC Blue Water Fishermen's Association
Calvo Group Confederación Española de Pesca Commonwealth Fisheries Association China Fishmeal and Fishoil Association China Fishery Group Limited Conservation International Clover Leaf
Cluster Confraria de Pescadores Lira Cooperativa de Armadores de Pesca del Puerto de Vigo Delhaize Group
Danmarks Fiskeriforening Danske Fiskeres Producent Organisation Environmental Defense Fund Eastern England Fish Producers Organisation Ltd
The Environmental Foundation for Africa EWOS Group Federacion Andaluza de Asociaciones Pesqueras Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners
The Fishmongers Company Grupo Amasua I&J Iceland Seafood International
International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation Loblaw Luen Thai Fishing Venture Ltd Marine Conservation Society
Morrisons Marine Stewardship Council National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations Norges Fiskarlag
Norges Sildesalglag The Northern Prawn Fishery The Northern Prawn Fishery: Wild Banana Prawns Natural Resources Defense Council
Oceana Group Limited Oceana Ocean Conservancy Organización de Productores Asociados de Grandes Atuneros Congeladores
OSO Pacific Andes International Holdings Pisces Responsible Fish Restaurants Plastic Oceans
Sea Farms Seafish South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association Samtök Fiskvinnslustöðva
Sobeys Inc. The Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fishermens Association Sunnmøre og Romsdal Fiskesalslag Trident Seafoods
Vest-Norges Fiskesalgslag Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Wildlife Conservation Society The World Future Council
Whalebags WorldFish Center WWF Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Young's Seafood Limited    


Bakau Fishermen and Target Beneficial Association

Barinoff Courageous Fisheries

Eastern Yokosuka Fisheries Cooperative Association

Fisheries Post Harvest Processors Association


Gunjur Artisanal Fishermen Association

Gunjur Badala Hajo Jarra Women Kafo

Kanagawa Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations

Pesquera Ancora

Tanji Fisher Folks Association

Nyiumoi Kafo-Gunjur Village

Yokohama City Fisheries Cooperative Association