Port State Measures Agreement on IUU Fishing Moves Closer to Entry into Force
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US President Barack Obama has signed the instrument that will allow the US to join the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, following the passage by Congress of the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015 and bringing the US in line to become the 20th party to the Agreement.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing aims to strengthen international efforts to address IUU fishing and to contribute to sustainable fisheries management and governance at all levels.

USA Flag11 February 2016: US President Barack Obama has signed the instrument that will allow the US to join the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, following the passage by Congress of the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015 and bringing the US in line to become the 20th party to the Agreement. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing aims to strengthen international efforts to address IUU fishing and to contribute to sustainable fisheries management and governance at all levels.

The Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) puts in place a series of measures to prevent vessels from landing IUU fish at ports and essentially removes the incentive to engage in IUU fishing by preventing fish caught by foreign vessels engaged in IUU fishing activities from entering international markets, according to FAO. Left unaddressed, IUU fishing drives overfishing, threatens marine ecosystems and food security, hinders sustainable fisheries management and results in significant economic losses.

“By joining the Port State Measures Agreement, the US commits to work with other nations to prevent illegally caught fish from entering into commerce worldwide by reducing the number of ports where these fishing products can be unloaded and making it harder for bad actors to do business,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. He urged other countries to ratify the Agreement and said the US will take further steps to address illegal fishing and protect the ocean and its resources, including through hosting the Third Our Ocean Conference in September 2016.

The PSMA requires ratification from at least 25 countries to enter into force. In addition to the US, Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, the European Union (EU), Gabon, Iceland, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Palau, the Republic of Korea, the Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis and Uruguay have ratified the Agreement. Other countries that have signed, but not ratified, the Agreement include Angola, Benin, Brazil, Canada, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Peru, the Russian Federation, Samoa, Sierra Leone, and Turkey.

FAO has held a series of regional workshops to provide information about the PSMA and raise awareness about the benefits of implementing the Agreement, including workshops in Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and the North West Indian Ocean.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14) calls to end IUU fishing by 2020 (Target 14.4). [US Secretary of State Statement] [FAO Website on PSMA] [World Wildlife Fund Press Release 1] [World Wildlife Fund Press Release 2] [FAO Presentation on IUU Fishing] [IISD RS Sources]

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