JAKARTADAILY.ID – Global leaders in the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing have endorsed a strategy to extend vessel inspections, enhance information exchange, and boost the capacity of developing states to combat the practice.
“We need streamlined information exchange and digitalization for the PSMA to effectively combat IUU fishing,” said Matthew Camilleri, senior fishery officer and head of the Fisheries Global and Regional Processes Team in FAO’s fisheries and aquaculture division.
The Parties agreed to take the Global Information Exchange System (GIES), a digital system developed by FAO at the request of the Parties, from its current pilot phase to a fully operational system by the end of the year.
The PSMA is the first binding international agreement designed to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by stopping foreign vessels engaging in it, from using ports, landing their catches, even denying them entry. Currently, one in three fish stocks are overfished, with the rising demand for aquatic foods making it crucial to manage all stocks sustainably.
The PSMA has the highest rate of adherence of all international fisheries instruments, with 75 Parties, including the European Union as one Party on behalf of its Member States, having adhered to the agreement.
FAO is working with countries and regional fisheries management organizations to combat IUU fishing, said Manuel Barange, the director of FAO’s fisheries and aquaculture division.
“We are reviewing national legislation, identifying ways to strengthen their institutional capacity, and helping them enhance their monitoring and surveillance systems so they can effectively implement the PSMA and other international instruments to promote sustainable fisheries,” he added.
The Fourth Meeting of the Parties received financial support from the Government of Norway. The Parties pledged further support to the Global Capacity Development Programme, which has supported over 50 developing states to date in improving their capacity to combat IUU fishing.
The PSMA entered into force in June 2016, and the Meeting of the Parties is convened biennially to discuss matters related to the implementation of the agreement.
“IUU fishing is a serious threat to the health of the world’s oceans and the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them,” said a spokesperson for the Indonesian Government, which hosted the event.
“The PSMA is a key instrument to block fish products derived from IUU fishing from entering international markets, and we fully endorse the strategy to strengthen global commitment and information exchange.”