International Activities in Aquatic Genetic Resources
The United Nations (UN) Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the most important source of international law governing human activity in the seas and oceans. The protection and preservation of the living resources and the marine environment is one of the aims of the UNCLOS.
The Committee on Fisheries (COFI), a subsidiary body of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, presently constitutes the only global inter-governmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture problems and issues are examined and recommendations to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fishworkers, FAO and international community are given regularly on a world-wide basis, COFI has also been used as a forum in which global agreements and non-binding instruments were negotiated. The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing are important agreements created by COFI.
Above that there are more specific international agreements, which create framework conditions for the conservation and sustainable use of aquatic genetic resources for demarked geographical areas. The Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries (NEAFC) from 1980 or the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean (NASCO) from 1983 are examples for multilateral regional agreements in the marine sector.
Regarding freshwater areas with cross-border rivers and lakes there exist international water protection commissions e.g. for the reduction of water pollution and development of common management plans. The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) or the International Commission for the Protection of the Lake Constance (IGKB) are examples for international water protection commissions.
Further information about the international framework regarding to the conservation and use of Aquatic Genetic Resources can be found in chapter 3 of the National Technical Program for Aquatic Genetic Resources.