The paper presents the results of a major assessment of Code adoption and implementation in nine fishing countries in Asia (China, Thailand, Vietnam), Africa (Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea) and in the Caribbean (Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Trinidad & Tobago), which are part of the international research project ECOST.
The main findings are that the Code as an international policy instrument remains relevant and adaptable to the current international fisheries context, and that its guiding principles and provisions have been endorsed and adopted in almost unanimous fashion by the countries covered, and integrated into fisheries policy letters and legal frameworks. However, results also suggest that tackling the truly difficult issues in fisheries, such as combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing or adjusting fishing overcapacity has been a lot less successful. The design and implementation of necessary measures often remains very weak in domains with important economic and political dimensions. The causes for this are attributed to a mix of administrative inertia, lack of political will and stamina, and short-sighted economic considerations.