Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA)

Lusophone countries increase commitment towards sustainable fisheries


Portuguese-speaking countries agree to establish a network of cooperation in combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

19 November 2021, Vilankulo, Mozambique – Nine Portuguese-speaking countries have met to discuss the challenges in combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and how the establishment of a network among them can contribute to preventing, deterring, and eliminating IUU fishing, including through the effective implementation of the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA).

Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste have agreed to initiate the basis for the adoption of a legally binding instrument to create a cooperation network to strengthen their capacities to combat IUU fishing.

The nine States were participating in a side event, ‘Combatting IUU fishing’ organised by the National Directorate of Operations of the Ministry of the Sea, Inland Water and Fisheries (MIMAIP) of Mozambique with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Secretariat of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

During the event the representatives of the CPLP member States exchanged experiences, identified their main challenges in combatting IUU fishing and discussed how the establishment of a network among them, through a legally binding instrument, could contribute to overcome them. Almost half of the nine CPLP countries are already Party to the PSMA, which is the first binding international instrument that specifically targets IUU fishing. The Agreement entered into force in 2016.

Dr Matthew Camilleri, Leader of the FAO Fisheries Global and Regional Processes Team, explained the benefits of the PSMA as a potent and cost-effective tool to combat IUU fishing, whereby foreign vessels engaging in IUU fishing are denied entry and use of ports. He also presented an overview of the assistance that FAO provides to developing States, through its Global Capacity Development Programme, to implement the agreement and complementary international instruments. In the last five years, as a result of this programme supported by several donors, FAO has supported 48 countries through the implementation of 13 projects that, cumulatively, mean an investment in excess of USD 20 000 000.

The side event was held in hybrid mode and in parallel to the second edition of the ‘Growing Blue Conference’ which was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Mozambique and included the presence of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, the Portuguese Minister of the Seas and the President of Kenya, the two countries which will co-host the 2nd Edition of the United Nations Conference of the Oceans in Lisbon, Portugal next year, apart from the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Blue Economy of the regional body, the African Union. The conference took place in Vilanculos, in the province of Inhambane, in southern Mozambique, on 18–19 November.

During the closing of the conference, the Mozambican Minister for the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Augusta Maita, called for regional commitment in the fight for the protection of the oceans, highlighting the involvement of communities as fundamental for the conservation of marine biodiversity.

“We need to share innovative ocean management ideas with populations so that misuse attitudes are not the dominant behaviour. We can use the resources without harming ecosystems”, declared Augusta Maita.

For Augusta Maita, the country's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change forces us to bet on science to provide an early response, avoiding damage caused by cyclical floods and cyclones that affect mainly coastal regions.

“Inhambane, the province that hosted this event, is one of the most vulnerable to extreme events and we already have several cyclones registered in this region”, recalled the Mozambican Minister.

Augusta Maita appealed for an immediate regional response by the countries of southern Africa in the struggle to protect the oceans.

“Alone we are limited to respond to the noble challenges of the oceans, hence the need for global action”, said the Minister.

More information about the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures:

More Information about FAO’s work to combat IUU fishing: