Ground-breaking illegal fishing accord to go into force from June 5

Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is about to become much more difficult thanks to the imminent entry into force of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), a ground-breaking international accord championed by FAO.

Now that the required threshold has been reached, with 30 members having formally deposited their instruments of adherence, the count down to the entry into force of the PSMA is underway and on 5 June the world’s first ever binding international accord specifically targeting IUU fishing will become international law, the U.N. food agency said.

Collectively, the 29 countries and the European Union, which signed as a single party, have formally committed themselves through their instruments of adhesion to the agreement account for more than 62 percent of worldwide fish imports and 49 percent of fish exports, which were $133 billion and $139 billion respectively, in 2013.

Each year, IUU fishing is responsible for annual catches of up to 26 million tonnes, with a value of up to $23 billion. It also undermines efforts to ensure sustainable fisheries and responsible fish stock management around the world.

The new treaty requires that parties designate specific ports for use by foreign vessels, making control easier. Those ships must request permission to enter ports ahead of time, and provide local authorities with information, including on the fish they have on board, and allowing inspection of their log book, licences, fishing gear and actual cargo, among other things.

Importantly, the agreement calls on countries to deny entry or inspect vessels that have been involved in IUU fishing, and to take necessary action. To support this, the Agreement also includes the obligation for parties to share information regionally and globally, regarding any vessels discovered to be involved in IUU fishing.

 

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