At its 31 session in 2014 the FAO Committee on Fisheries adopted the Voluntary Guidelines on Flag State Performance (VGFSP) as a complementary tool in the fight against IUU fishing.
The VGFSP are not legally binding, but they are an important indication of what flag States may need to do in order to comply with their obligations under the UN Law of the Sea Convention, the 1995 UN Fish Stock Agreement, the 2003 FAO Compliance Agreement and the 2009 FAO Port State Measures Agreement.
The VGFSP encourages States to conduct self-assessments of their performance as responsible flag States and provide an extensive set of criteria against which flag States may assess their performance. Norway's self-assessment has recently been finalized.
The self-assessment shows that Norway has taken multiple actions in order to fulfil its flag State responsibilities, and that in general it has incorporated the relevant binding measures into its domestic legislation and management system.
These include relevant provisions of global binding instruments and measures adopted by regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) to which Norway is a member.
However, there are lack of clarity and deficiencies in regulations concerning vessels engaged in transshipment, and there are no fisheries specific regulations concerning vessels involved in other fishing related activities such as refueling and resupplying at sea.
There are also a few other issues, relatively minor, that should be addressed by Norwegian authorities.