FAO Port State Measures Agreement on Illegal Fishing to enter into force on June 5

The agreement is world’s first-ever international agreement specifically targeting illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) championed by FAO.

Created On: May 17, 2016 16:13 ISTModified On: May 17, 2016 17:38 IST


Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) of the Food and Agriculture Organnisation (FAO) will enter into force on 5 June 2016. The agreement seeks to ensure sustainable fisheries and responsible fish stock management globally.

The agreement is world’s first-ever international agreement specifically targeting illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) championed by FAO.

This became possible after 29 countries and the European Union formally deposited their instrument of adherence to the PSMA.

Main highlights of the Agreement

•    The new agreement requires that parties designate specific ports for use by foreign vessels, making control easier.

•    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.

•    It calls on countries to deny entry or inspect vessels that have been involved in illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and to take necessary action.

•    To support the implementation, it includes the obligation for parties to share information regionally and globally, regarding any vessels discovered to be involved in such fishing.

•    It applies to any use of a port, so even vessels that are just refuelling will have to comply with inspection requirements.

Implementation of the Agreement

In order to support the implementation of the agreement by developing coastal countries and Small Island developing States, FAO has

a)    invested substantially in capacity-building projects to support the application of port state measures; and

b)    launching a series of national, regional and inter-regional initiatives, including a global programme on capacity development for implementation of the agreement.

Parties to the Agreement

The following States and regional economic integration organizations are Parties to the agreement:

Australia, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, European Union – Member Organization, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Iceland, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, 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 implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement will help make IUU fishing difficult across the globe.

It is because the 30 countries which are party to the agreement account for more than 62 percent of worldwide fish imports and 49 percent of fish exports, which were 133 billion dollars and 139 billion dollars respectively, in 2013

According to FAO, each year IUU fishing is responsible for annual catches of up to 26 million tons, with a value of up to 23 billion dollars.

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