FAO Compliance Agreement

The Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Compliance Agreement) was unanimously approved, subject to acceptance, at the 27th Session of the Conference of the FAO in November 1993. The Agreement entered into force on 24 April 2003.

The Compliance Agreement is intended to improve the regulation of fishing vessels on the high seas by strengthening ‘flag-state responsibility'. Parties to the Agreement must ensure that they maintain an authorisation and recording system for high seas fishing vessels and that these vessels do not undermine international conservation and management measures. The Agreement aims to deter the practice of ‘re-flagging’ vessels with the flags of States that are unable or unwilling to enforce such measures. Provisions are made for international cooperation and exchange of information in implementing the Agreement, particularly through the FAO.

Australia deposited its instrument of acceptance for the Compliance Agreement on 19 August 2004. Domestic legislation to implement Australia's obligations under this Agreement entered into force on 20 August 2004.