Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA)

FAO provides technical assistance to South Africa to review its fisheries Act


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provided technical assistance to South Africa in response to the country’s request to review its Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA), 1998.

The mission took place between 20 – 24 November 2023.

The mission facilitated a national needs assessment workshop with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) of South Africa. It also gave an opportunity for DFFE, with technical support from the FAO team, to update the National Strategy and Action Plan (2018) for the effective implementation of the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) and complementary instruments and regional mechanisms to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The national needs assessment workshop drew together participants from various key fisheries stakeholders in South Africa including senior officials from DFFE, representatives from law enforcement agencies, the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority under the Ministry of Transport dealing with the registration of vessels, the Department of Oceans and Coast under the Ministry of Fisheries, and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications.

To review the MLRA, a Steering Committee, comprising of senior officials of DFFE, has been set up to oversee the legal review process. The FAO team together with the Steering Committee held a two-day inception meeting to understand how the MLRA is implemented and to identify gaps in its implementation. The inception meeting also allowed for interviews with law enforcement officials from different agencies and ministries, including police, navy, fisheries inspectors, border inspectors, and national parks inspectors, to hear their perspectives of law enforcement challenges.

At the end of the workshop, the national authorities, with the assistance of the FAO team, concluded the main points for the formulation of an updated national strategy and action plan to gradually fulfil South Africa’s obligations under the relevant international instruments and regional mechanisms.

The legal work on the revision of the MLRA is expected to start in early 2024.

FAO provides assistance to South Africa through the Norwegian funded project “Responsible Use of Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources for Sustainable Development" (GCP/GLO/352/NOR).