The international community is celebrating the entry into force of the FAO´s Port State Measures Agreement, having reached, and surpassed indeed, the required number of countries to make it an international binding instrument to deter and combat illegal undeclared and unregistered fishing (IUU).
|Alejandro Flores Nava
Whilst much has already been said in the international media about the benefits and characteristics of this important instrument, I appreciate this opportunity to express, from a regional perspective, its relevance regarding three major dimensions.
First of all it is essential to realize that combating IUU fishing is a powerful means to an end, that is, the ultimate goal is to protect fish stocks around the globe from overexploitation.
Unreported fishing makes it impossible to adequately estimate global fish biomass thus being a limiting factor to provide information on safe biological thresholds for sustainably managing fisheries. Overexploitation can have deleterious effects not only on the target species but on many other species that interact in the ecosystems, hence combating IUU is an important instrument to contribute to ecosystems balance.
Other two important dimensions addressed by the PSMA relate to fundamental human aspects. One relates directly to the reduction caused by IUU of the fish biomass which otherwise could reach and be legally fished by coastal communities around the globe—communities whose livelihoods depend on artisanal and industrial fisheries.
The other one, not of lesser importance, is the labour conditions of the crew members of fishing vessels, which in many instances are inhumane, particularly in those vessels that practice IUU fishing around the globe. All these issues are recognized and addressed within the PSMA, thus giving us all a reason to be hopeful of the future.
The entry into force of this instrument though a huge step, is still a first step, and it is the beginning of tighter measures agreed that have to be put in place by every port State. It is now time to convert political will into action.
From a more regional perspective, we are ready to assist countries to strengthen their capacities, foster inter-institutional dialogue and provide technical guidance regarding the necessary legislation and institutional arrangements needed to implement this binding instrument. We are putting upfront a regional Project funded by FAO to carry out these tasks in Latin America and the Caribbean. Requested by member countries and we are promoting information exchange within the region.
Foto principal de Hernán Piñera via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Foto 2 de marcovdz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Foto 3 de Kārlis Dambrāns via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)