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Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries

Fisheries, including aquaculture, are a vital source of food, employment, trade, economic well-being, and recreation throughout the world. This is true today, and it will be true in the future if fishing and associated activities are carried out in a responsible and sustainable manner.

The 1995 Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) sets out international principles and standards of behavior to ensure effective conservation, management and development of living aquatic resources, marine as well as freshwater, taking into account  both the impact of fishing on ecosystems as well as the impact of ecosystems on fisheries and the need to conserve biodiversity. CCRF is voluntary, although parts of it are based on relevant rules of international law.

CCRF is global and comprehensive in scope and is directed toward members and non-members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); fishing entities; subregional, regional, and global organizations, whether governmental or non-governmental; all persons concerned with the conservation of fishery resources and management and development of fisheries; and other users of the aquatic environment in relation to fisheries.

In 1997, NOAA Fisheries published its original implementation plan for the CCRF, and in 2012 it published its updated implementation plan. These plans document the Agency’s commitment to implementing the CCRF both domestically and internationally.

Though nearly twenty years old, CCRF remains key to achieving sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. CCRF provides an organizing framework for responsible fisheries – with its implementation steered by 4 international plans of action, 2 strategies, and 28 technical guidelines. These documents are available here Exit.

The international plans of action concern 4 different topics, each calling on FAO members to develop corresponding national plans of action. NOAA Fisheries has accordingly completed U.S. national plans of action for each of the topics, as well as reports on the implementation of the national plan in some cases. For questions on the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries or any of the documents listed below, please contact Cheri McCarty (


Conservation and Management of Sharks

Reducing the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries

Management of Fishing Capacity

Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing