Four African countries, namely Nigeria, Angola, Eritrea and Morocco, have committed themselves to collaborating with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’s in the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the continent.
According to the FAO, 100 countries are now committed to the UN FAO’s Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA).
The PSMA is the first binding international agreement specifically designed to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by denying port access and use to foreign vessels that were either engaged in or supported illegal fishing practices.
In a statement that was posted on its website, the FAO added that 60 per cent of ports states globally are currently committed to the agreement, which is a binding international intrument to combat IUU fishing.
The Director General of FAO, Mr. QU Dongyu said, “Rising consumer demand and transforming agrifood systems in fisheries and aquaculture have driven global fish production to its highest levels and there is broad recognition of the need to step up the fight against IUU fishing. It is encouraging to see more states support the PSMA in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
FAO said one in every five fish caught around the world every year 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.
It lamented that IUU fishing has continued to undermine national, regional and global efforts to achieve sustainable fisheries in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Director of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, Mr. Manuel Barange, said: “We have a responsibility to manage and use all aquatic resources sustainably. We need to work together to step up port controls and an adequate information exchange 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.”
The FAO recently launched the PSMA Global Information Exchange System (GIES), which would collect and share official compliance-related information with a focus on port inspection results, actions taken and port entry or denials.
With the FAO global record of fishing vessels, refrigerated transport vessels and supply vessels (global record), the platform would also support states in their efforts to implement the PSMA and complementary instruments to combat IUU fishing.
The FAO has so far assisted more than 50 countries to review their legislation, strengthen their institutional capacity, improve their monitoring, control and surveillance systems and operations to effectively implement port state measures and fulfill their international responsibilities as flag, coastal and market states.