Committee on Fisheries
Thirty-fifth Session, 5-9 September 2022
Rome, Italy


FAO PSMA as a tool to combat IUU fishing

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a major threat to fisheries’ sustainability. It occurs in all types of fishing. It impacts fish stocks, vulnerable marine ecosystems, and the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on fishing for food and income. The damage caused by IUU fishing is serious, but we have the means to stop it. The FAO Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) is the world’s first-ever binding international instrument that targets IUU fishing.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing | Sustainable fishing starts with us

Although the impacts of Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing on world oceans, trade, and coastal communities can be substantial, most consumers seldom think of IUU fishing as an obstacle to the sustainability of our ocean. When illicitly caught fish ends up on our plates, we are accomplices in unsustainable, and often criminal practices, that are damaging for our well-being and for the sustainability of our ocean. As consumers, we can contribute to stop IUU fishing with our personal choice. Paying attention to the source of the fish we buy, to its traceability and environmental sustainability is a powerful way to start. We can make a difference. Sustainable fishing starts with us.

Small in scale, big in value

In 2017, the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022), with the FAO serving as the lead agency, in collaboration with other relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system. IYAFA 2022 will be an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture, including women and youth; to share the current and potential contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and highlight related innovation; and to build and strengthen related support and partnerships at all levels. It is also an important opportunity to advance the implementation of relevant normative instruments, such as the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication.

Not a drop in the ocean – key successes by the Common Oceans ABNJ Program

Our Common Oceans - the marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) - is the home of vitally important ecosystems and essential resources, but they are difficult to manage. Tasked with the mission to improve fisheries management and biodiversity conservation in the ABNJ, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and partners set to work on the Common Oceans ABNJ Program. Between 2014-2019, the Program made significant strides in improving tuna fisheries, tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and protecting marine life and vulnerable ecosystems. All of this was more than just a drop in the ocean, but we need to do more to ensure that our Common Oceans are managed sustainably for future generations.