The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is urging African governments to sign on to the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) and to consider taking immediate action to implement the treaty.
The continent’s fisheries is scourged by persisting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing that put additional stress on oceans and marine resources, and siphons off billions of dollars worldwide in government revenue in the process.
Addressing a side-event on the Blue Economy at the first extraordinary Summit of the African Union on maritime safety and security and development in Africa (10-15 October, Lomé, Togo), Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, confirmed the persistent political, legal, institutional, and operational challenges in combatting IUU fishing.
“FAO is working on various fronts to combat IUU fishing through an integrated approach that includes the elaboration of national plans of action”, he said.
FAO recognizes the critical need to diversify African economies well and beyond land-based activities.
“The blue economy runs on more than just fish, but fisheries play a vital role in achieving the International Community’s objectives of eliminating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition”, Bukar added.
Mr Tijani observed that as countries continue to become party to the Agreement, and with the PSMA now in force, the focus has now shifted to its implementation, with FAO playing a critical role through its key responsibilities as reflected in the provisions.
The blue economy runs on more than just fish, but fisheries play a vital role in achieving the International Community’s objectives
Effective implementation of the PSMA ultimately contributes to the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems.
· IUU fishing is estimated to strip between US$10 billion and US$23 billion from the seafood industry.
· Using outlawed fishing gear and violating quota limits may account for up to 26 million tons of seafood a year–more than 15 per cent of the total global output.
· The Port State Measures Agreement will be the first ever legally binding international treaty focused specifically on IUU fishing.
· Operating without proper authorization, catching protected species, using outlawed types of gear or disregarding catch quotas are among the most common IUU fishing activities.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).