New Port State Measures Agreement Support Boosts Efforts to End Illegal Fishing
As of today, 29 countries and the European Union have formally committed to the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), the international treaty that will strengthen efforts to prevent illegally caught fish from entering global markets. In order for the PSMA to come into effect, 25 countries were needed to become parties to the Agreement.
Now that the required countries have signed on, the PSMA will now go into force on June 5, 2016, per the process outlined in the Agreement. On behalf of the United States, President Obama ratified the agreement in February, which was accepted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on February 26, 2016.
In response, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Michele Kuruc, vice president of oceans policy:
“This is a huge step in the fight to end illegal fishing and reinforces the global commitment to protecting our oceans from the criminals who are pillaging them.
“The agreement empowers participating countries to act more quickly and easily after recognizing illegal fish trying to enter their markets, growing their capacity to stop these illegal products. Illegally caught seafood is threatening the long-term viability of our fisheries, negatively affecting consumers, fishing communities and ecosystems alike, and ratification of the PSMA shows a resolve to rectify this harrowing situation.
“All nations need to be diligent in verifying and sharing information, seizing illegal products and prosecuting those who violate the law. Signatories should take an active role nationally, regionally and globally in implementation, and those nations with the means should contribute to the fund to assist less-developed countries build capacity to enforce the agreement.
“These 30 signers have taken a stand for the world’s oceans by ratifying the PSMA. However, the treaty is only as strong as its implementation, and participating nations must now act quickly and resolutely to ensure that enforcement is a priority moving forward.”