The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Agreement on Port State Measures, to which Nigeria and 99 other nations have already committed, has increased efforts to combat illicit, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing worldwide (PSMA).
The PSMA is the first legally binding international agreement created with the express purpose of preventing, discouraging, and eliminating IUU fishing by prohibiting foreign boats from using or accessing ports while engaging in or supporting such fishing.
“Nigeria, Angola, Eritrea, and Morocco are the latest countries to back the PSMA.
“Now 60 percent of port States globally are committed to the agreement, which is a binding international instrument to combat IUU fishing,’’ FAO said in a statement.
Commenting on the agreement, FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, said, “Rising consumer demand and transforming agrifood systems in fisheries and aquaculture have driven global fish production.
“They have driven fish production to its highest levels, and there is broad recognition of the need to step up the fight against IUU fishing.
“It is encouraging to see more States support the PSMA in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
IUU fishing is thought to be the source of one in five fish taken each year globally, having a disastrous effect on the sustainability of fisheries, the livelihoods of those who depend on them, and the preservation of marine ecosystems.
Eliminating IUU fishing is essential to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals because it hinders efforts at the national, regional, and international levels to establish sustainable fisheries.
“We have a responsibility to manage and use all aquatic resources sustainably.
“We need to work together to step up port controls and adequate information exchange through implementing the PSMA.
“This will contribute to transforming aquatic food systems and maximize their role as drivers of employment, economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability,” Manuel Barange, director of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, said.
The PSMA Global Information Exchange System (GIES), newly introduced by FAO, gathers and disseminates data on official compliance with a focus on port inspection outcomes, actions taken, and port entrance or denials.
The platform assists States in implementing the PSMA and other instruments that aim to combat IUU fishing through the FAO Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels, and Supply Vessels (Global Record).
More than 50 countries have received assistance from FAO in revising their laws, building institutional capacity, enhancing monitoring, control, and surveillance operations, successfully implementing port state regulations, and carrying out their obligations as flag, coastal, and market States internationally.