Fishing and environmental protection influence one another. The fishing industry is dependent on an intact natural environment but it also impacts on the maritime environment itself. The industry can only have a stable future if fishing is conducted in a sustainable manner, i.e. in harmony with nature and with future generations in mind.
One primary objective of the international community's environmental and development policy is the protection of the oceans, seas and coastal areas: This includes the protection, rational use and development of their living resources. This is stated in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 - the action plan of the UN Conference on Environment and Development that was published in June 1992 (Rio Conference).
Alongside the politically-oriented AGENDA 21, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides the international legal basis for provisions implementing these policy objectives. The Federal Republic of Germany is politically committed to the protection of the oceans and has ratified UNCLOS.