Around one in every five fish caught around the world annually comes from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Photo: ©Shutterstock/enzosub

Milestone in the fight against illegal fishing

Global action to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has stepped up as more and more countries commit to FAO’s Agreement on Port State Measures.

As of November 2022, 100 states now back the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA). Angola, Eritrea, Morocco and Nigeria are the latest countries to commit to the PSMA, meaning 60 per cent of port states globally are now covered by the agreement.

The PSMA is the first binding international agreement specifically designed to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by denying port access and use to foreign vessels engaging in or supporting such fishing.

One in every five fish caught around the world annually 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 eliminating it is key to reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

“We have a responsibility to manage and use all aquatic resources sustainably,” says Manuel Barange, director of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Division. “We need to work together to step up port controls and ensure information is shared effectively 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.”

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 entries 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 aimed at combatting IUU fishing.


Read more on the FAO website

Rural 21, Issue 4/2021: Tailwind for sustainable artisanal fisheries

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