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MEAT & SEAFOOD

Oslo hosts first meeting of parties to FAO’s PSMA to prevent IUU fishing
Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Oslo
The first Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA), the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) bold new international treaty aimed at cracking down on illicit fishing, opened in Oslo recently, as delegates began hammering out ways to make the agreement a success.

The agreement, which went into force in June 2016, now has 46 parties. It counts all 28 members of the European Union (EU) as one. It restricts port access to fishing vessels that fail to comply with a set of rules, including proof that they have proper operating licenses and transparent disclosure of the species and quantity of fish caught.

It represents the capstone of years of diplomatic effort to combat the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which amounts to up to 26 million tonne, worth $23 billion a year, and represents a huge threat to all efforts to bolster sustainable fishing in the world’s oceans.

“This treaty signals a real sea change in the international community’s commitment to combat IUU fishing in a concerted and joint manner,” said Árni M Mathiesen, assistant director general, fisheries and aquaculture, FAO.

Parties to the PSMA currently account for more than two-thirds of the global fish trade and range from Albania, Cuba and Palau to large states including Indonesia and the United States of America. Japan and Montenegro will become full parties next month.

Oslo meeting
The week-long event in Norway is the first meeting of the parties to the PSMA and is expected to define the responsibilities of the concerned states as well as regional fisheries management organisations and other international bodies.

FAO, which is already highly engaged in capacity-building initiatives to support the treaty around the world, also acquires new duties in relation to PSMA’s implementation, including providing support for a future review meeting, eventual informal consultations and ad hoc technical working groups to discuss specific issues.

Among the high-level attendees at the Oslo meeting - along with officials from the hosting Norwegian government - are Jose Graziano da Silva, director general, FAO, Tommy E Remengesau, president, Republic of Palau, and ministers from Dominica, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Norway, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sudan and Tonga.

One of the matters to be discussed this week is how to assure the proper exchange and publication of information since port states must signal violations to a ship’s flag state as well as to regional authorities.

The technical requirements of developing states will also be addressed, while the first ad hoc working group will meet later this week to assess the resources needed to make sure all members, including small island developing states located amid some of the world’s most attractive fishing areas, can carry out their tasks.

The PSMA is a powerful tool for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14, which expressly calls for an end to IUU fishing by 2020.
 
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