The Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) is the first binding international instrument designed specifically to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by denying port access to foreign vessels that engage in or support such practices.
“Increasing consumer demand and the transformation of agri-food systems in fisheries and aquaculture have pushed global fish production to its highest levels and there is widespread recognition of the need to step up the fight against IUU fishing,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.
One in five, illegal
It is estimated that one in five fish caught worldwide each year comes from IUU fishing.
This not only causes devastating impacts on the sustainability of fisheries and the livelihoods of those who depend on them, but also on the conservation of marine ecosystems.
IUU fishing undermines national, regional, and global efforts to achieve sustainable fisheries, and its elimination is key to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The right move
However, with Angola, Eritrea, Morocco, and Nigeria the latest countries to support the agreement, 60% of the world’s port states are now committed to the agreement to combat IUU fishing.
“It is encouraging to see more states supporting the PSMA in support of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said the top FAO official.
Transforming Aquatic Food Systems
Manuel Barange, director of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, stated that “we have a responsibility to manage and use all aquatic resources sustainably.”
He maintained the need to work together to increase port controls and proper information sharing through the implementation of the PSMA.
“This will help transform aquatic food systems and maximize their role as drivers of employment, economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability.”
Working the system
FAO recently launched the PSMA Global Information Exchange System (GIES), which collects and shares official information related to compliance, focusing on port inspection results, actions taken, and entry or port denial.
Together with FAO’s Global Register of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels, and Supply Vessels, the platform supports PSMA nations and complementary instruments aim to combat IUU fishing.
To date, FAO has helped more than 50 countries revise their legislation; strengthen its institutional capacity; and improve its monitoring, control, and surveillance systems and operations, to effectively implement the agreement and meet its international responsibilities.