The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has increased commitment to its Agreement on Port States Measures (PSMA) by reaching 100 states committing to the agreement to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The FAO estimates that globally, one in every five fish caught annually is from IUU fishing. Combatting IUU fishing aids national, regional, and global efforts for sustainable fisheries and is part of achieving the U.N.’s sustainable development goals. The PSMA is an international agreement that denies port access to foreign vessels seeking entry to a port other than their own state.
“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,” FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said. “It is encouraging to see more states support the PSMA in support of the sustainable development goals.”
Currently, 60 percent of port states have committed to the PSMA, with Angola, Eritrea, Morocco, and Nigeria being the most recent to commit.
“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," Dongyu said.
Reviewing legislation, strengthening institutional capacity, and improving monitoring, control, and surveillance systems are key points the FAO assisted over 50 countries with to implement these port state measures.
In November 2022, the FAO released the PSMA Global Information Exchange System (GIES). It is used to share port inspection results, actions taken, and port entry or denials with States to better implement the PSMA.
Along with GIES, States can use the FAO Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels, and Supply Vessels (Global Record) that compiles a repository of vessels and assigns a Unique Vessel Identifier (UVI) to each of the vessels worldwide in order to increase transparency and traceability and ultimately combat IUU fishing.
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