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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Sustainable Networks: Modes of governance in the EU's external fisheries policy relations under the IUU Regulation in Thailand and the SFPA with Senegal

Kadfak, Alin; Antonova, Anna


The EU envisions itself as a global leader in sustainable fisheries governance. This paper explores how two key policies seek to implement these aspirations internationally - the Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) regulation and the Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreements (SFPAs). We draw on case studies in Thailand and Senegal to examine the specific mechanisms through which the EU influences fisheries governance beyond its territory, respectively through the IUU regulation and SFPAs. Drawing on normative power literature, we argue that the EU utilises network and market modes of governance to translate normative environmental values into third country regulations as part of dialogue and negotiation processes. In particular, we expand on the functioning of the network mode of governance by looking at how the EU has used socialisation and partnership approaches to promote certain values during its dialogues with both countries. In Thailand, the EU helped promote fisheries reform through its IUU yellow card mechanism, but its influence has at times been criticised as too directive. Meanwhile, the latest iteration of the EU's bilateral fishing relations with Senegal under the new SFPA scheme shows promising improvement compared to previous versions, but remains complicated by the two countries' relative power imbalance. Overall, our paper seeks to enrich the engagement of fisheries governance literature with questions of EU relations with third countries. Our two case studies demonstrate how exploring the functioning of normative aspects is significant particularly because the advancement of sustainability in global fisheries depends on concrete, historically complex, and multilaterally constructed power relations.


EU; Fisheries governance; Sustainability; Thailand; IUU fishing; Senegal; Bilateral agreements

Published in

Marine Policy
2021, volume: 132, article number: 104656

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Antonova, Anna
University of Munich

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14 Life below water

UKÄ Subject classification

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Globalization Studies

Publication Identifiers


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