For the last decades, the NGOs for Fisheries Reform, Inc. focused on fisheries policy reform and advocacy both at the national and local levels. It has been instrumental in the passage of the 1998 Fisheries Code or Republic Act 8550, and the issuance of a controversial administrative order that seeks to delineate municipal waters, the Department Administrative Order no. 17 (DAO 17). Through its relentless lobbying, a Joint Administrative Order to establish a Task Force Fisherfolk Settlement was jointly signed by the National Anti-Poverty Commission and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to formulate guidelines to implement Section 108 of R.A. 8550 that stipulates the need for the DA to establish fisherfolk settlement areas near the fishing grounds of artisanal fisherfolk. The Task Force was also mandated to formulate a comprehensive program for fisherfolk settlement.
The NFR was also instrumental in the passage of a guideline on Fishpond Lease Agreement-Cancellation through Fisheries Administrative Order 197-1. NFR together with its partners, pushed for the development of women-managed areas, where the roles and responsibilities of women fisherfolks in coastal resources management are recognized.
The NFR is a national coalition of non-government organizations formed initially to provide technical support for national fisherfolk federations and coalitions in their lobbying efforts for the passage of a meaningful fisheries code. It has since strived to go beyond this initial unity by sharing experiences in both theoretical and practical work in the fisheries sector and by actively exploring alternative venues for its advocacy work. At present, it has 12 member organizations. It registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2005.