FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation

The Agreement on Port State Measures has become a law in Russia



On December 8, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law on the ratification of The Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. 

After the experts established full compliance of this international treaty with Article 106 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the State Duma approved the bill on November 17 and Federation Council – on December 2. 

The PSMA obliges countries that have joined it to introduce a number of measures in their ports to prevent the unloading of illegally obtained catches, as well as to exchange information on vessels caught in IUU fishing. 

The PSMA was adopted at the thirty-sixth session of the FAO Conference on 26 November 2009 and is the first legally binding international agreement to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The Russian Federation signed the Agreement on 29 April 2010. 

The main purpose of the agreement, as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo) Ilya Shestakov explained earlier at a meeting of the State Duma, is to combat IUU fishing and to create obstacles to the flow of illegally extracted water bioresources at the national and international markets. 

“The captain of a seaport of a state, which is party to PSMA, has the right to allow or refuse entry to vessels involved in IUU fishing, as well as to refuse such a vessel to use the port for unloading, transhipment, packaging and processing of fish and for other port services, including replenishment of fuel and supplies, repair and dry docking,” the head of Rosrybolovstvo noted while explaining the advantages of ratification of the PSMA, which facilitates control over the legality of catches. 

From now on, Russia can legally take measures based on PSMA to prevent poaching vessels from being served in ports and unloading their catches. The Agreement specifies the minimum set of information that the port-state may request from a foreign vessel, including information about the water bioresources on board, fishing permits, or transhipment permits. The procedure for inspecting vessels has also been established. 

Port State Measures came to prominence as an internationally acknowledged tool to combat IUU fishing, notably due to the increasing recognition by the international community of their effectiveness in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, Matthew Camilleri, FAO’s Head of the Fishing Operations and Technology Branch, noted at a webinar held in Moscow in 2019. 

Port State measures as a tool to promote more responsible fisheries and long-term sustainability have been introduced progressively in both binding and voluntary instruments. The movement towards the use of these measures for fisheries management purposes has been encouraged by the recognition that they are more cost-effective and efficient than alternative sea inspection involving surveillance platforms. 

When vessels are voluntarily in port, authorized officers have the option of boarding vessels for random inspections or to undertake more targeted inspections if there is information or evidence to suggest that a vessel has engaged, or is suspected to have engaged, in IUU fishing. 

Flag States, on the other hand, should take measures to ensure that vessels flying their flags do not engage in IUU fishing and do not engage in any activity that undermines conservation and management measures. 

No less important are mechanisms in place to ensure sufficient cooperation with relevant Port States with regard to vessels belonging to Flag State. 

As for Coastal State responsibilities, the list of conditions for authorization of fishing and fishing related activities in Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) includes, for instance, background checks of vessel, in collaboration with Flag States in case of foreign flagged vessels. 

Market State responsibilities consist of the following duties: Prevention of trade of products derived from IUU fishing; Catch documentation and certification requirements; Multilaterally agreed trade measures consistent with WTO principles; Transparency and traceability of fisheries products; and Information exchange and cooperation.


Due to PSMA coming into force in Russia, amendments to the current legislation of the Russian Federation are being prepared to implement the provisions of the document after its ratification. In particular, it would be necessary to amend the Code of Commercial Navigation of Russia on the authority of the sea port master, as well as the Federal law on seaports in the Russian Federation in terms of giving Rosrybolovstvo the authority to maintain a national list of IUU vessels and acting as a coordinating center for direct international exchange of information with regional organizations on fisheries regulation in terms of implementation of the agreement.


FAO historical background on port state measures in international fisheries: http://www.fao.org/port-state-measures/background/history/ru/