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07/06/2018

Growing momentum to close the net on illegal fishing

More countries sign up to block vessels carrying illegal catches

Several fishermen sell their products to merchants on the coast of Manta, Ecuador

A growing number of countries are signing up to a global agreement that helps stop illegal fishing, as the international community today marks the first International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. IUU fishing is estimated to affect one in every five fish caught, with an annual cost of up to $23 billion.

Today's date was chosen to highlight the scourge of IUU fishing because it is the anniversary of the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) which came into force in 2016. The PSMA is the first binding international agreement that specifically targets illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. So far 54 States and the European Union have become Parties to the Agreement and many have already started implementing the provisions.

"Many other countries are currently in the process of ratification by their parliaments...I would like to congratulate all of those countries, and urge all other countries to join this global effort to eliminate illegal fishing. For the PSMA to be very effective, we need every country onboard," said FAO's Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva at a side event during FAO Council to mark the international day.

The PSMA reduces the incentive of vessels to operate illicitly by denying their access to ports and therefore their ability to land their catch and receive port services. In effect, it blocks fishery products derived from IUU fishing from reaching national and international markets.

"Around the world ruthless operators are plundering fish stocks and emptying our oceans, and it is not only fish but people who are paying the price. Empty oceans equal empty stomachs and empty wallets," Karmenu Vella, European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said at the event at FAO headquarters.

"Indonesia continues to put in place very strict measures and we want to continue to have zero tolerance for illegal and unreported fishing," said Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister for Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia - the host country of this year's international "Our Ocean" Conference. “We all have to work further together. There is no country that can tackle IUU fishing alone,” she added.

This article is incomplete. Click here to read the full text from its original source, FAO
Photo Credit: Foto Santiago Armas/Presidencia de la República de Ecuador (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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