Regional Fisheries Management Organizations

  • Erik J. MolenaarEmail author
Conference paper


Regional fisheries management organizations and arrangements (RFMO/As) can at present be regarded as the preeminent institutions of international fisheries law. This chapter examines their role in the implementation and development of the law of the sea. It sketches the origins of international fisheries law and RFMO/As, and offers an overview of the different types of RFMO/As and the distinctions between them, their key functions, and whether or not a body qualifies as an RFMO or an RFMA. As part of this latter aspect, several regional bodies are closely examined, in particular those relating to the Arctic and the Antarctic. It is argued that RFMO/As can perform additional roles besides conservation and management of fisheries resources. This ‘role-oriented approach to RFMO/As’ is supported by the rules and practices of several RFMO/As. Special attention is finally devoted to the mandate of RFMO/As to deal with free riders and their rules and practices aimed at safeguarding the interests of the ‘Founding Fathers’ that initiated the negotiation of the RFMO/As’ establishment. These issues are not only of critical importance to RFMO/As but are to a considerable extent also interrelated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS), Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL)Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea (NCLOS)UiT The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway

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