The influence of performance reviews on regional fisheries management organizations
Regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) are key bodies responsible for managing fisheries on the high seas and also in areas of the ocean under national jurisdiction. The performance of RFMOs has, however, become the focus of broad-based criticism in the context of increasing fishing effort, the scale, and sophistication of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and concerns over the wider environmental impacts of fishing activities. In response to these criticisms, the United Nations General Assembly has called on RFMOs to carry out performance reviews (PRs) to assess their record in fisheries management. PRs can provide the opportunity to assess the strengths and weaknesses of past actions by specific RFMOs. There is, however, limited information and analysis available on the progress made by RFMOs after PRs have been carried out. To fill this gap, this paper assesses the performance of five RFMOs that have undergone PRs on two occasions. The paper assesses the performance of these five RFMOs against a scoring system that analyses improvements made after the first PR based on the recommendations made in the second PR. This analysis is encouraging, as all five RFMOs demonstrated significant improvement in their performance in the period after their initial PR, especially in “conservation and management” and “international cooperation” activities.