Global fight against IUU fishing reaches a ‘new milestone’ with Port State Measures Agreement

Responsible Seafood Advocate

100 States endorse FAO Agreement on Port State Measures

Port State Measures
The PSMA is the first binding international agreement specifically designed to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by denying port access and use to foreign vessels engaging in or supporting such fishing. Photo courtesy of FAO/Veejay Villafranca.

One hundred states have now committed to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA), intensifying the global fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing). The PSMA is the first binding international agreement specifically designed to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by denying port access and use to foreign vessels engaging in or supporting such fishing.

Angola, Eritrea, Morocco and Nigeria are the latest countries to back the PSMA. To date, 60 percent of port states globally are committed to the agreement, which is a binding international instrument to combat IUU fishing.

“Rising consumer demand and transforming agrifood systems in fisheries and aquaculture have driven global fish production to its highest levels and there is broad recognition of the need to step up the fight against IUU fishing,” said QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General. “It is encouraging to see more States support the PSMA in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Every year, one in every five fish caught worldwide is estimated to originate from IUU fishing, with devastating impacts on the sustainability of fisheries and the livelihoods of those who depend on them, as well as the conservation of marine ecosystems.

“IUU fishing undermines national, regional and global efforts to achieve sustainable fisheries and its elimination is key to succeeding in reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” wrote the FAO in a press release.

FAO recently launched the PSMA Global Information Exchange System (GIES), which collects and shares official compliance-related information with a focus on port inspection results, actions taken and port entry or denial.  With the FAO Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels (Global Record), the platform supports States in their efforts to implement the PSMA and complementary instruments which aim to combat IUU fishing.

FAO has so far assisted more than 50 countries to review their legislation, strengthen their institutional capacity, improve their monitoring, control and surveillance systems and operations, to effectively implement port state measures and fulfill their international responsibilities as flag, coastal and market states.

“We need to work together to step up port controls and an adequate information exchange through the implementation of the PSMA,” said Manuel Barange, director of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Division. “This will contribute to transforming aquatic food systems and maximize their role as drivers of employment, economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability.”

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