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FAO to support Sudan on ground-breaking global illegal fishing agreement

25/07/2016

Khartoum - FAO Sudan and the Ministry of Animal Resources launched a new project under FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) on the Technical assistance for the formulation of national strategies and action plans to improve compliance with the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), an important project to support Sudan’s implementation of the ground-breaking international accord on illegal fishing championed by FAO, which entered into force on 5 June 2016.

The PSMA is the world's first legally binding international accord specifically targeting illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. IUU fishing. IUU fishing is responsible for annual catches of up to 26 million tons, with a value of up to $23 billion. It also undermines efforts to ensure sustainable fisheries and responsible fish stock management around the world.

“This is agreement is very important to Sudan and will help us to control illegal fishing by foreign vessels, which is a problem for Sudan,” said H.E. Musa Tibin Musa Adam, Minister for Animal Resources. “Thank you to FAO for taking the initiative in arranging this agreement and extending its support to Sudan on this important issue.”

Sudan is just 1 of 2 countries in the Near East – North Africa region to sign onto the accord, and is among 29 member states and the EU globally to sign onto the Agreement. The new project agreement is designed to support Sudan on the implementation of the PSMA provisions, through the development of country-specific, well targeted short- and medium-term strategies and actions to enable Sudan to gradually meet the Agreement’s requirements over the next 3 to 5 years.

“As this is a legally binding agreement, it is one that countries will need to take seriously and therefore the level of commitment needed to ensure implementation will need to be significant. At FAO, we stand ready to guide Sudan to meet those commitments,” said Dr Abdi Adan Jama, FAO Representative in Sudan. “The implementation of the national strategies and action plans will benefit Sudan’s legitimate fishers and coastal communities whose food security and livelihoods depend on the sustainability of local and shared fish stocks.”

How the treaty will work

"Port state measures" refer to actions taken to detect IUU fishing when ships come to port. The new treaty requires that parties designate specific ports for use by foreign vessels, making control easier. Those ships must request permission to enter ports ahead of time, and provide local authorities with information, including on the fish they have on board, and allowing inspection of their log book, licences, fishing gear and actual cargo, among other things.

Importantly, the Agreement calls on countries to deny entry or inspect vessels that have been involved in IUU fishing, and to take necessary action. To support this, the Agreement also includes the obligation for parties to share information regionally and globally, regarding any vessels discovered to be involved in IUU fishing. The PSMA applies to any use of a port, so even vessels that are just refuelling will have to comply with inspection requirements.

Preventing unscrupulous fishers from landing their ill-gotten hauls makes it much harder for such catches to enter national and international markets. Compared to most monitoring, control and surveillance schemes, port state measures act as a highly effective - and cost effective - deterrent to IUU fishing activities. More information on the PSMA can be found here.