Agreement On Port State Measures To Prevent Deter And Eliminate Illegal Unreported And Unregulated
The agreement on port state measures to prevent, combat and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a 2009 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) international treaty aimed at preventing and eradicating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Its main objective is to prevent, deter and eliminate INT fishing by preventing vessels involved in INT fishing from operating ports and landing their catches. The agreement thus reduces the incentive for these vessels to continue to operate, while preventing fishing products from INT fishing from reaching domestic and international markets. The treaty was concluded on 22 November 2009 at the 36th session of the FAO conference in Rome. Eighty-one states negotiated and approved the text of the treaty.  23 states signed the treaty, up from open to signature in 2009 and 2010. Particular attention should also be paid to the implementation of the PSMA to ensure that commitments are followed by effective measures and the correct implementation of the provisions of the agreement. Countries note that the agreement is an inexpensive instrument to combat illegal fishing. Sending patrol vessels to pursue and possibly arrest illegal operators on the high seas is costly and dangerous. In comparison, port surveillance is safer and less costly.
The treaty entered into force on June 5, 2016, 30 days after it was ratified by a 25th state. Since September 2018, the treaty has 55 contracting parties, including 54 states plus the European Union: the PSMA sets the minimum controls that a state should apply when foreign fishing vessels enter one of its ports or enter one of their ports and verify that all landed fish are legally caught. The “port state” determines which ports can be used by foreign vessels and follows a series of standard procedures for deciding whether the vessel should enter, inspect the vessel and report the results of the inspection with other port states and share them with other port states. Follow-up, settled litigation and the role of the ship`s flag state are also included. The implementation of the PSMA, under the leadership of the fisheries authorities, with enhanced links with allied authorities, will bring institutional, organisational and operational benefits, which will lead to stricter and more efficient port procedures for the management of fishing vessels, in order to improve control of the fishing sector. By complying with the PSMA, port states are showing that they are taking their responsibilities seriously and continue to ensure access to important markets where seafood buyers have committed to ending IDN fishing. When the Port Measures Agreement (PSMA) came into force in 2016, the United Nations welcomed it as the beginning of a new era in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (INRI fishing). More than 25 governments had ratified or otherwise signed the treaty, exceeding the threshold needed to bring it into force.
This figure more than doubled in the years that followed. But can a single treaty create a mechanism strong enough to combat widespread disregard for fishing laws and policies? We think the answer is yes, but the agreement is as good as the parties that comply with it and impose it.