Global action to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has intensified as Nigeria and 99 other countries have now committed to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA).
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.
“Nigeria, Angola, Eritrea and Morocco are the latest countries to back the PSMA.
“Now 60 per cent 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.”
One in every five fish caught around the world every year 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.
“We have a responsibility to manage and use all aquatic resources sustainably.
“We need to work together to step up port controls and an adequate information exchange through the implementation of the PSMA.
“This will contribute to transforming aquatic food systems and maximise their role as drivers of employment, economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability,” Manuel Barange, director of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, said.
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 denials.
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 fulfil their international responsibilities as flag, coastal and market States.
By Cecilia Ologunagba