The Main Players

The key actors in this arena include the following:

  1. Nations that authorize or permit their flagged vessels to engage in deep-sea fisheries on the high seas, including Spain, Russia, Portugal, Norway, Estonia, Denmark/Faroe Islands, Japan, Lithuania, Iceland, New Zealand and Latvia.
  2. The regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) that manage deep-sea fisheries on the high seas, including:
    • Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
    • North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC)
    • Northwest Atlantic Fishing Organization (NAFO)
    • South Pacific Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO)
    • North Pacific Fisheries Management Organization (NPRFMO)
    • South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA).
  3. United Nations fora, in particular:
    • the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which holds annual negotiations on sustainable fisheries where the guidelines on deep-sea fishing in the high seas are debated and reconfirmed or amended through an updated resolution. The UNGA holds periodic reviews of implementation of these resolutions (2006, 2009, 2011, 2016), with the next one scheduled in 2020.
    • the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), whose Conference of Parties sets the agenda for key biodiversity protection and management issues through its protected areas and marine and coastal biodiversity programs of work and associated targets, as well as its focus on Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs).
    • The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), under which the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) currently constitutes the only global intergovernmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture issues are examined and recommendations addressed by a range of stakeholders. COFI reviews the FAO programs of work in the field of fisheries and aquaculture and their implementation, as well as specific matters relating to fisheries and aquaculture referred to it by the FAO Council or Director-General, or bodies such as the UNGA.
  4. The European Union, in the context of ongoing negotiations towards legislation to better manage the region’s deep-sea fleets – in particular Parliament, the Commission, Council and the Fisheries Working Group.
  5. The deep-sea fishing industry.
  6. Scientists around the world conducting research into what actually exists in ocean depths, as well as: the impacts of fishing and other human activities on these deep unknown spaces and species; and what types of improved management options may help to conserve these natural assets (and their contribution to planetary and human wellbeing) for the long term.
  7. Civil society. The DSCC continues to provide a platform for civil society, representing more than 70 organizations worldwide, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), fish-workers’ groups and law and policy institutes. We work in close cooperation with major national and international players on high seas conservation, serving largely as the “activist” arm of the community.