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Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA)

Benefits of Implementing PSMA

©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico / FAO

IUU fishing is a major problem in capture fisheries and poses a serious threat to the effective conservation and management of many fish stocks. The implementation of the PSMA should incur a number of benefits, including that it:  

  • Complements the efforts of flag States in fulfilling their responsibilities under international law – it provides an opportunity for port States to check and verify that vessels not flying their flags and that seek permission to enter their ports, or that are already in their ports, have not engaged in IUU fishing. 
  • Enhances flag States control over vessels as it requires the flag State to take certain actions, at the request of the port State, or when vessels flying their flag are determined to have been involved in IUU fishing.
  • Requires better and more effective cooperation and information exchange among coastal States, flag States and regional fisheries management organization and arrangements (RFMOs). 
  • Seeks to prevent the occurrence of so-called ports of non-compliance (formerly known as ports of convenience).
  • Is a cost-effective tool in ensuring compliance with national law and regional conservation and management measures adopted by RFMOs.
  • Contributes to strengthened fisheries management and governance at all levels. Implementing port state measures through national legislation will give an incentive to establish coordinated procedures and facilitate intra-agency cooperation.
  • Has a positive influence on fisheries conservation and management by contributing to more accurate and comprehensive data collection, enhancing vessel reporting to national administrations and RFMOs, permitting assessments concerning the extent to which vessels have complied with operational authorizations and licenses to fish, promoting regional fisheries cooperation and harmonization among coastal States and RFMO Members, and facilitating the more rigorous implementation of international labour, safety and pollution standards on vessels. 
  • Can prevent fish caught from IUU fishing activities from reaching national and international markets. By making it more difficult to market fish through the application of port State measures, the economic incentive to engage in IUU fishing is reduced. In addition, many countries have also decided to prohibit trade with countries that do not have port state measures in place.