1 June 2017: The first Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the UN Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing discussed details of the Agreement’s implementation. The Agreement is expected to support sustainable fishing in the world’s oceans and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on life below water (SDG 14), which calls for ending IUU fishing by 2020.

The Agreement addresses IUU fishing by restricting port access to fishing vessels that do not comply with a set of rules, including transparent disclosure of species and quantity of fish caught and proof of proper operating licenses. The treaty currently has 46 Parties, including all 28 members of the European Union (EU). Japan and Montenegro have deposited their instruments of adhesion, which will bring the number of Parties to 48. These Parties represent more than two-thirds of the global fish trade, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).

The first MOP, which took place in Norway, Oslo, from 29-31 May 2017, focused on implementation, including how to assure real-time information exchange and publication of ships in violation of the treaty. Participants also discussed capacity building support to ensure that all members can comply with the Agreement. Parties are obliged to implement a number of measures to manage their ports, with the aim of detecting illegal fishing, stopping illegally caught fish from being offloaded and sold and sharing information on vessels not in compliance. The MOP’s first ad hoc technical working group focused on assessing the resources needed to ensure that all members, including small island developing States (SIDS), have the resources to meet their obligations under the Agreement.

Participants also discussed the responsibilities of States, regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and other international bodies, such as FAO. Under the agreement, FAO is responsible for providing support for a future review meeting, ad hoc technical working groups and informal consultations.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said the Agreement gives the world “all the instruments necessary to achieve our goal” of combating IUU fishing.

In a statement, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said the Agreement gives the world “all the instruments necessary to achieve our goal” of combating IUU fishing. He highlighted the PSMA’s additional benefits, from improving the livelihoods and food security of coastal communities and promoting sustainable marine fisheries to reducing illegal activities linked to IUU fishing, such as labor abuses, trafficking and slavery.

In advance of the meeting, FAO released a publication titled, ‘Implementation of port State measures: Legislative template framework for procedures, role of organizations.’ The publication aims to strengthen understanding of key actions needed to implement the PSMA. [UN Press Release] [UN Press Release on Meeting Opening] [FAO Press Release] [FAO Press Release on Director-General Statement] [FAO Press Release on Publication]