WWF: Major international agreement to fight illegal fishing supports EU efforts | WWF

WWF: Major international agreement to fight illegal fishing supports EU efforts

Posted on 05 June 2016
IUU fishing is estimated to cost between €8 billion and €19 billion annually, representing 11 million to 26 million tonnes of catch.
© Jürgen Freund / WWF
WWF welcomes the entry into force of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) today as a huge step in the global fight to eliminate illegal fishing. The Agreement is the first binding international treaty specifically aimed at preventing illegally caught fish from entering ports around the world, by reducing the number of ports where these products can be unloaded and making it harder for illegal fishing operations to do business. The more countries that join the Agreement and effectively implement it, the better the chances of keeping illegal products out of global markets.

“Illegally caught seafood endangers marine ecosystems, hurts law-abiding fishermen, and penalizes governments, retailers and consumers who play by the rules. PSMA is a cost effective way of leveraging market forces to close ports everywhere to vessels suspected of illegal activities,” said Michele Kuruc, WWF-US vice president of oceans policy. “With 60 countries -- including the EU Member States -- on board and more expected in coming months, we are witnessing a global movement to closing all ports to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) actors. By implementing the PSMA, governments are sending criminals a warning that they are not welcome anywhere in their region.”

"Seven years after it was first adopted, the entry into force of the PSMA is a ground-breaking development for the global fight against illegal fishing,” said Eszter Hidas, Illegal Fishing Policy Officer at WWF’s European Policy Office. “The measures will deter the landing of illegally caught fish in ports around the world, preventing these products from reaching profitable markets, thereby complementing and supporting the EU’s own strong efforts to stop this criminal activity.”

By requiring each party to publically designate those ports where foreign flag fishing vessels may enter, the PSMA increases the efficiency for vessel inspection, setting minimum standards that all parties will use. This includes denial of access to ports, standards for port inspections, prohibited landings, detention and sanctions, along with cooperation and shared information.

20 to 30 percent of annual harvests are estimated to come from illegal fishing, and the FAO reports that IUU fishing continues to have a devastating impact and the financial value of IUU fishing is estimated at 10-23 billion USD per year. Therefore, combating IUU fishing is key to improve food security worldwide, and global harmonisation of these provisions is advantageous for all parties in the fish trade.

WWF is encouraging more governments to sign up to the Agreement to present a united front against illegal fishing.
 
Further information:

Angelika Pullen, Communication Director, WWF European Policy Office: +32 473 947 966, apullen@wwf.eu
Eszter Hidas, Illegal Fishing Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office, ehidas@wwf.panda.org
David Schorr,  WWF Smart Fishing Initiative, David.Schorr@wwfus.org
 
IUU fishing is estimated to cost between €8 billion and €19 billion annually, representing 11 million to 26 million tonnes of catch.
© Jürgen Freund / WWF Enlarge