FAO hails PSMA’s treaty combating illegal fishing


FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has hailed countries that are committed to combating unsustainable and illegal fishing, calling for the rapid international adoption of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) to prevent and eliminate illegal fishing.

The PSMA, an international treaty brokered by FAO, entered into force in 2016. It requires foreign vessels to submit to inspections at any port of call, if deemed necessary by port states and for such states to share information on detected violations. The agreement strengthens prior rules requiring countries to control the activities of their own fishing fleets and is designed to raise the cost of IUU fishing by making it harder for wrongly-caught fish to be sold.

IUU fishing is estimated to account for up to 26 million tonnes a year or around one-fifth of the global catch, and undermines efforts to ensure sustainable fisheries through effective fish stock management measures around the world. Currently, one-third of the world’s fish stocks are being caught at biologically unsustainable levels – up threefold from the mid-1970s.

The meeting of the parties in Chile

On the agenda of the four-day Meeting, which began on Monday, are agreeing on rules of procedure by which parties can govern the administrative aspects of the PSMA. Also further technical protocols for how parties will exchange information and focus on how to assure funding mechanisms that allow developing countries to implement the treaty provisions.

Graziano da Silva noted the kind and generous support of numerous countries in helping develop global capacity to implement the PSMA, and in particular, thanked Norway for helping developing countries participate in the current Meeting.

FAO has devoted substantial resources from its own budget to boost the prospects for success of the treaty as part of the Organization’s broader mission to stamp out IUU fishing.