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FAO says 30 countries sign agreement to end illegal, unregulated fishing


United Nations  –  The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Monday said 30 countries formally deposited their instruments of adherence to the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) to end illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

The countries are Australia, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, European Union, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Iceland, Mauritius, Mozambique and Myanmar.

others are New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Palau, Republic of Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Tonga, United States, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the agreement will prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The agreement was negotiated under the auspices of a technical consultation convened by the FAO at the request of FAO’s Committee on Fisheries.

It was presented to the 36th Conference of the UN FAO in November 2009, where it was adopted and opened for signature.

It requires parties to deny port access, landing, transshipping and processing of fish) and port services (refueling, resupplying and repair, to foreign vessels which may have engaged in, or supported, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

According to FAO’s statement on Monday, the agreement is set to enter into force on June 5.

In the statement, FAO Director-General Jose da Silva, said: “this is the dawn of a new era in the effort to combat illegal fishing.

“By denying unscrupulous fishers safe haven and access to markets, the PSMA will drive the seafood industry towards greater sustainability and have significant ripple effects throughout the entire fisheries supply chain.

“Let no port state be known and targeted by IUU fishing operators as shelter for non-compliance.”

The FAO said that each year, IUU fishing was responsible for annual catches of up to 26 million tonnes, with a value of up to 23 billion dollars.

However, with the treaty becoming effective on June 5, parties would be required to designate specific ports for use by foreign vessels,
making control easier.

According to the treaty, those ships must request permission to enter ports ahead of time, and provide local authorities with information, including on the fish they have on board.

The ships must also allow inspection of their log book, licences, fishing gear and actual cargo, among other things.

The agreement calls on countries to deny entry or inspect vessels that have been involved in illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and to take necessary action. (NAN)

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