International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
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General context of ICES advice

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posted on 2022-10-07, 08:45 authored by ICESICES

ICES advises competent authorities on marine policy and management issues related to the impacts of human activities on marine ecosystems and the sustainable use of living marine resources.

Overarching international agreements on exploitation of living marine resources

An important part of ICES advice regards the management of the exploitation of living marine resources. The context for this part of ICES advice is set by several international agreements and policies:

• United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UN, 1982 (known as UNCLOS)), which includes a call for a maximum sustainable yield (MSY) approach to managing fisheries;

• United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UN, 1992a (known as UNCED)), including Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 which highlights a precautionary approach;

• United Nations Straddling Fish Stocks Agreement of 1995 (UN, 1995 (known as the UN Fish Stocks Agreement or UNFSA)) and the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (FAO, 1995), both of which call for a precautionary approach;

• Convention on Biological Diversity (UN, 1992b (known as CBD)), which calls for conservation of biological diversity through an ecosystem approach;

• Johannesburg Declaration of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (UN, 2002 (known as WSSD)), which calls for an ecosystem approach and rebuilding fisheries to maximum sustainable yield.

In addition, ICES advice responds to the policy and legal needs of ICES member countries and multinational and intergovernmental organizations that use the advice as the scientific basis to manage human activities that affect, and are affected by, marine ecosystems. Some applicable policy and legal instruments are:

• The Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union (EC, 2002)

• Communication from the European Commission on Implementing Sustainability in EU Fisheries through Maximum Sustainable Yield (EC, 2006)

• The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (EC, 2008)

• Norwegian Marine Resources Act (Lovdata, 2008 (Lov om forvaltning av viltlevande marine ressursar)),

• Russian Federal Law on Fisheries and conservation of biological resources in the waters. N 166-P3 20/12/2004 (Anon., 2004)

• Icelandic Fisheries Management Act (No. 38, 15 May 1990) (Anon., 1990)

• Faroe Islands Fisheries Management Act (Løgtingslóg nr. 28 um vinnuligan fiskiskap frá 10. mars 1994) (Anon., 1994)

ICES provides advice in the context of these agreements


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee

  • ACOM

Period covered by advice



ICES Advice: Recurrent advice

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