Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA)

Portuguese-speaking countries adopt legal instrument to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing


Nine Portuguese-speaking countries, members of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), have today signed a legal instrument that establishes a network of cooperation for the promotion of sustainable fishing and the prevention, combatting, and elimination of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The Ministers of Sea Affairs and Fisheries from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Timor-Leste, which form the CPLP, committed themselves to work together, through a cooperation network established to promote sustainable fishing, and to combat IUU fishing amongst the nine Members.

The network will focus on five main areas of cooperation: the policy framework, the legal framework, the institutional framework, operational tools and mechanism, and capacity building. The nine States will now adopt a biennial action plan, to be approved by the meeting of Ministers of Sea Affairs with their priorities, including with regard to the harmonisation of policy and legal frameworks, training  and the strengthening of technical and operational resources. The legal instrument will complement other international, regional, and sub-regional legal instruments already in force.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has provided technical assistance to the CPLP and its Member States in the lead up to the adoption of this new legal instrument. FAO supported the launching of the process in November 2021, in Vilankulos (Mozambique) on the side-lines of the Growing Blue Conference and in 2022, also with the support of FAO, the nine countries adopted the Namibe Declaration to promote sustainable fisheries.

The signing of the new legal instrument followed a Side Event to the ongoing United Nations Ocean Conference. The Side Event was organised by CPLP, FAO, and The Pew Charitable Trusts and sought to further strengthen the effective implementation of the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) and complementary international instruments, to provide access to timely and relevant information and tools, capacity building, and partnerships amongst the Parties to the PSMA. The PSMA is the only legally-binding instrument that targets IUU fishing. Parties to the PSMA have, earlier this month, increased to 71, including the European Union which counts as one on behalf of its Member States. A Member of CPLP will be the next to join.

See photos of the day, here and here.