Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA)

Global meeting in Bali to strengthen fight against IUU fishing

©FAO/Harriansyah Djuwahir

Bali - More than 200 delegates from around the world together with representatives of intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations are this week meeting in Bali, Indonesia, for the Fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (PSMA).

The meeting (8 – 12 May) is being hosted by the Government of Indonesia.

The PSMA is the first binding international agreement that specifically targets illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. It stops vessels engaging in IUU fishing from accessing ports, hence blocking fish derived from such fishing from entering the markets.

To date, the PSMA has 75 Parties, including the European Union on behalf of its Member States. The Meeting of the Parties is a biennial forum for matters related to the implementation of the Agreement.

The opening session of the Fourth Meeting of the Parties was addressed by Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General, Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia, and Mr Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

In a recorded message, Dr QU Dongyu referred to IUU fishing as a threat to the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources and ecosystems, and of the livelihoods of 600 million people that depend on them. “Sustainable capture fisheries and sustainable aquaculture have great potential to feed and nourish the world’s growing population and the increasing demand for healthy aquatic foods” continued Dr Dongyu, adding that “the PSMA can support the transformation of sustainable fisheries worldwide”. While acknowledging that the PSMA is making a difference, Dr Dongyu added that “we need to continue to boost our collective efforts to create truly sustainable fisheries”.

During the meeting, Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to eliminate IUU fishing practices. As an archipelagic State with 17 504 islands and 140 million people who depend on marine resource to fulfil their protein needs, and work for a living in coastal areas in Indonesia, “for these reasons, Indonesia commits to creating a healthy and sustainable ocean, as well as eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices and intensifying law enforcement,” Sakti said.

FAO Representative in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Rajendra Aryal highlighted Indonesia as one of the original signatories of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) since November 2009.

“Over the years, FAO has worked in close partnership with the Government of Indonesia and other States in the Asia Pacific Region in developing and managing the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, while also responding to emergencies impacting on these sectors“, Aryal said.

During this week, the Fourth Meeting of the Parties is expected to address key issues including a strategy to increase the effectiveness of the PSMA; the Global Information Exchange System – an information technology tool developed by FAO upon the request of the Parties to share information on port State measures; and the capacity development needs of developing States in combatting IUU fishing.

The Fourth Meeting of the Parties is also supported by the Government of Norway through a funding contribution.