Commitments to sustainable fisheries: Empty words or reality?
The Our Ocean conferences focus on voluntary commitments by different pledgers in support of actions towards a clean, healthy and productive ocean. We analysed the content and summarised the progress of implementation of the commitments related to sustainable fisheries at the Our Ocean conferences during 2014–2018. A total of 77 different entities provided commitments. Governments was the largest group (34) followed by NGOs (23). The majority (58%) of commitments were related to enforcement, transparency and cooperation. In particular, combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries and support for the port state measures process were the focus of many of the commitments. To increase transparency and effectiveness of commitments, we suggest that more emphasis should be put on documenting and evaluating the impact of commitments. There is good progress in the implementation, and the commitments are largely reality and not empty words. We consider that the commitments have been successful in terms of generating attention and providing funding of projects that are supportive of sustainable fisheries. The diversity of pledgers is large, and an objective gap analysis on requirements for achieving sustainable fisheries regionally could provide pledgers with common ground and further increase the impact of the Our Ocean conferences.