UN agency approves groundbreaking treaty to wipe out illegal fishing

Port State measures are said to be one of the best and most efficient ways to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

25 November 2009 – A landmark treaty that aims to shut down ports to illegal fishing vessels has been approved by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the United Nations agency announced today.

This will be the first ever legally-binding global pact that commits governments to prevent, deter and eventually eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by taking steps to guard their ports against ships engaged in such illicit practices and consequently preventing their catch from entering international markets.

Eleven FAO members – Angola, Brazil, Chile, the European Commission, Indonesia, Iceland, Norway, Samoa, Sierra Leone, the United StatNow countries are committing to taking steps to identify, report and deny entry to offenders at ports where fishing fleets are received.es and Uruguay – signed the treaty immediately following its approval by the agency’s Governing Conference.

The “Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing” will enter into force once 25 countries have ratified it.

“It's a milestone achievement,” said FAO Assistant-Director-General for Fisheries Ichiro Nomura.

“No longer will we solely rely on the ability of fishing nations to monitor behaviour by vessels flying their flags on the open waters of the oceans,” said Mr. Nomura. “Now countries are committing to taking steps to identify, report and deny entry to offenders at ports where fishing fleets are received. That’s a key back door that will be slammed shut with the new international treaty.”

IUU fishing damages the productivity of fisheries and could lead to their collapse, FAO warned in a news release. Operating without proper authorization, catching protected species, using outlawed types of gear or disregarding catch quotas are among the most common unlawful activities.


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