Friday, August 5, 2016
The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent Illegal Fishing Entered into Force in June
An international agreement aimed at tackling illegal fishing “marks the dawn of a new era,” but rapid action is needed to ensure that its implementation is effective, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said. “Generations to come will recognize the importance of this achievement, your achievement,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva at an event held to celebrate the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, which went into force on 5 June.
The treaty was adopted as an FAO agreement in 2009 after a years-long diplomatic effort, and is the first-ever binding international accord that focuses specifically on illicit fishing. More than 30 nations, as well the European Union on behalf of its 28 members, have acceded to the treaty. The treaty requires foreign vessels to submit to inspections at any port of call and for port states to share information on violations. An improvement on prior rules requiring countries to control the activities of their own fishing fleets, the new agreement is designed to raise the cost of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, as it blocks improperly caught fish from being brought to land and entering markets.
At the event, the FAO Director-General acknowledged that implementation of the agreement may prove challenging for some nations – especially developing and small island States – due to resource and capacity constraints.
The agreement has an article that explicitly enjoins parties to the treaty and international organizations to provide assistance and funding. The Republic of Korea has already confirmed it will make a financial contribution, and other parties should follow suit, Mr. Graziano da Silva said. In addition, FAO has set up an inter-regional Technical Cooperation Programme and a Global Capacity Development Umbrella Programme to support logistical, legislative and legal aspects of translating the agreement into practice.
(Adapted from a UN press release)