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Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA)

Background

©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti / FAO

The Agreement on Port State Measures is the first binding international agreement that specifically targets illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. It lays down a minimum set of standard measures for Parties to apply when foreign vessels seek entry into their ports or while they are in their ports.

Drawn up in 2005 and approved by the FAO Conference at its Thirty-sixth Session on 22 November 2009, the Agreement entered into force in June 2016, thirty days after the date of deposit of the 25th instrument of adherence.

Through the implementation of defined measures to ensure proper detection and investigation of IUU fishing, as well as follow-up actions, reporting and notification, the implementation of the PSMA not only ensures that fish caught from IUU fishing should be blocked from reaching national and international markets, thereby reducing the incentive for perpetrators to continue to operate, but also that other States, RFMOs and relevant international organizations are also made aware of the incident.

Mindful of the fact that effective implementation of the Agreement requires sound policy, legal and institutional frameworks, as well as robust operational mechanisms sustained by sufficient human and financial resources, the PSMA provides for the requirements of developing States, including the establishment of funding mechanisms.

The worldwide implementation of the PSMA, coupled with better performance by flag States, supported by effective Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and supplemented by market access and trade measures would not only strengthen international efforts to curb IUU fishing but would, as a result, also support the strengthening of fisheries management and governance at all levels. This will constitute a substantial contribution to protecting our oceans and ensuring that their wealth can be handed over to the next generations.