FAO Regional Office for Africa

FAO Port State Measures Agreement set to become international law

African countries among most affected by Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing

Photo: @FAO Equatorial Guinea

20 May 2016, Accra - The FAO Regional Office for Africa has welcomed the imminent coming into force of the legally binding Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) which will allow coastal nations to deny port entry and services to foreign vessels suspected of illegal fishing.

Too often, African nations lack the capacity to monitor and enforce compliance on laws related to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

“This is really a very encouraging development. We are confident that in the upcoming months, the number of countries in Africa that will have adhered to PSMA will increase; so far seven African countries are among the 30 countries worldwide that have already adhered to the agreement”, said Mr. Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.

“African countries are among the most affected by IUU fishing and they are fully aware of the importance of this legally binding agreement; we have in our priorities the fight against IUU fishing through raising awareness and capacity building,” he added.

Commitment and empowerment

Collectively, 29 countries and the European Union, which signed as a single party, have formally committed themselves through their instruments of adhesion account for more than 62 percent of worldwide fish imports and 49 percent of fish exports, representing $133 billion and $139 billion, respectively, in 2013.

IUU fishing is responsible for annual catches of up to 26 million tonnes, with a value of up to $23 billion. It also undermines efforts to ensure sustainable fisheries and responsible fish stock management around the world.

The treaty enjoins parties to 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, licenses, fishing gear and actual cargo, among other things.

Essentially, countries are empowered to deny entry or inspect vessels that have been involved in IUU fishing, and to take necessary actions. 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.


FAO Press release

Port State Measures Agreement

The Agreement

Learn more about the PSMA

The PSMA brochure

FAO Guide to PSMA Implementation

Related links

FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries

International Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU Fishing (IPOA-IUU)


Contact: [email protected] ; [email protected]