The European Union (EU) has been supporting its Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) through its trade powers for 40 years. This practice has evolved significantly over the years. This paper explores this evolution with respect to achieving sustainable fishing beyond EU waters. In particular, this paper examines two major ways in which the EU trade agreements impact sustainable fishing abroad. First, the discussion looks at the EU’s use of trade agreements to leverage access to the fishing resources of third States. The paper finds this EU practice to be lacking the necessary coherence and transparency and it raises doubts about the balance between commercial and sustainability concerns. Second, the discussion looks at the fisheries cooperation provisions included in the various EU trade agreements. In that regard the paper examines the changing and evolving emphasis on sustainable fishing. The paper finds that the EU’s trade agreements have evolved greatly. The contemporary EU trade agreements seek to ensure sustainable fishing as none before them have. As such the EU is successfully using them as vessels for implementing its external CFP. The EU does so by setting the agenda on the international plane and diffusing specific CFP norms through its trade agreements.