EJF: New international treaty is serious blow to pirate fishing
May 31, 2016

EJF: New international treaty is serious blow to pirate fishing

By EJF Staff

On Sunday, the international Port State Measures Agreement will come into force following its ratification by 29 States and the European Union. The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) strongly welcomes the announcement, saying that stronger port controls are a critical step that helps take profit out of pirate fishing.

For decades, weak controls at ports around the world, have allowed Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU), or ‘pirate’ fish to be smuggled into markets and sold to unsuspecting consumers. Criminal operators profit from this while legitimate businesses and those in developing countries who rely on fish for protein and jobs suffer.

EJF has long called for the implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement – an international treaty designed to prevent, deter and eliminate pirate fish entering ports by strengthening and harmonising controls. This includes rules on port inspections, pre-notification of vessel arrivals and information sharing.

“We believe that the PSMA is a critical tool in the fight against IUU fishing. These 30 ratifications—including by the EU, US and South Korea—are a big step forward, but to eradicate fully pirate fishing we need to see the PSMA ratified and implemented by States across the world.” Steve Trent, EJF Executive Director

EJF has advocated for key States with ports at risk of receiving IUU imports, such as South Korea and Thailand, to rapidly complete the ratification and full implementation of PSMA. Both States have now signed up to the treaty.

IUU fishing is a serious threat to marine ecosystems the world over. It’s estimated to be worth as much as 23 billion dollars every year – a fifth of the value of the total global catch.

The following States and regional economic integration organization are Parties to the Agreement: Australia, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, European Union - Member Organization, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Iceland, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Palau, Republic of Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Tonga, United States of America, Uruguay, and Vanuatu.