91 FAO Members have agreed on an international agreement to implement “port state measures” to combat illegal fishing.
The final text of a new treaty that aims to close fishing ports to vessels involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has been agreed upon by a group of 91 countries during talks brokered by FAO, the UN agency announced today.
The "Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing" will be the first ever global treaty focused specifically on the problem of IUU fishing. It is hoped that the agreement will help block IUU-caught fish from entering international markets, thereby removing an important incentive for some fishermen to engage in illicit fishing.
Countries ratifying the agreement will commit to take a number of steps to harden their ports against IUU fishers. Key points of the treaty include:
• Foreign fishing vessels wishing to dock will be required to request permission from specially designated ports ahead of time, transmitting information on their activities and the fish they have on board -- this will give authorities an opportunity to spot red flags in advance.
•The treaty commits countries to regular inspections and outlines a set of standards that will be used during those inspections. Reviews of ship papers, surveys of fishing gear, examining catches and checking a ship's records can often reveal if it has engaged in IUU fishing. More....