Parties to FAO's PSMA to bolster action against IUU fishing

Parties to FAO's PSMA to bolster action against IUU fishing

The 4th meeting of the parties to the FAO agreement on Port State Measures to combat IUU Fishing in Bali on May 8-12, 2023. (ANTARA/HO-FAO/Harriansyah)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Parties to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO's) Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) will strengthen efforts against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing by endorsing strategy for strengthened global commitment and information exchange.

The Fourth Meeting of the Parties, an event hosted by the Indonesian Government in Bali on May 8-12, has endorsed a strategy to increase adherence to the PSMA by extending vessel inspections, exchanging global information, and improving the capacity of developing states, as noted in a written statement issued by FAO Indonesia on Saturday.

"FAO is working with countries and regional fisheries management organizations to combat IUU fishing by reviewing national legislation, identifying ways to strengthen their institutional capacity, and helping them enhance their monitoring and surveillance systems, so they can effectively implement the PSMA and other international instruments to promote sustainable fisheries," Director of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Division Manuel Barange stated.

Currently, one in three fish stocks is overfished. With the rising demand for aquatic foods, ensuring that all stocks are managed sustainably is crucial, according to FAO.

FAO further stated that PSMA has the highest rate of adherence of all international fisheries instruments since it is the first binding international agreement designed to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing by stopping foreign vessels engaging in it from using ports, landing their catches, and even denying them entry.

It is a key instrument to block fish products derived from IUU fishing from entering international markets, it said.

So far, 75 parties, including the European Union, as one party on behalf of its member states, have adhered to the PSMA. It represents 59 percent of port states globally. Timor-Leste became the latest party to the agreement at the end of last month.

The Global Information Exchange System (GIES) plays a critical role in supporting the implementation of the PSMA. It is a global system that shares vital information, including inspection reports and actions taken on foreign fishing vessels engaged in IUU fishing.

"We need streamlined information exchange and digitalization for the PSMA to effectively combat IUU fishing," Matthew Camilleri, senior fishery officer and head of the Fisheries Global and Regional Processes Team in FAO’s fisheries and aquaculture division, stated.

During the Fourth Meeting of the Parties, Parties to the PSMA pledged further support to the Global Capacity Development Programme, which has, to date, supported more than 50 developing states in improving their capacity to combat IUU fishing.

The PSMA entered into force in June 2016, and the Meeting of the Parties is convened biennially to discuss matters related to the implementation of the Agreement.

The Fourth Meeting of the Parties received financial support from the Government of Norway.

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