The United States Ratifies Important Treaty to Combat Illegal Fishing

Created on Wednesday, 13 January 2016


2015 was a big year for the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. President Obama signed S. 1334 / H.R. 774, the “Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015″ which led to the United States ratification of the United Nations Port States Measures Agreement (PSMA).

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) approved the PSMA to “Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing” in 2009, but the treaty does not go into effect until it has been ratified by 25 nations (it has been ratified by 19 nations to date). By strengthening and harmonizing port measures around the globe, the treaty will decrease the incentive for IUU fishing and help prevent illicitly caught seafood from entering legitimate seafood markets. Countries that ratify the treaty must:

1) designate ports through which foreign fishing vessels may enter

2) conduct dockside inspections following set standards

3) block entry to vessels known or believed to have been involved in IUU or those on an IUU vessel list of a Regional Fishery Management Organization (RFMO)

4) share information with the governments of vessels with IUU product, when discovered during inspection.

While the U.S. already enforces most of the provisions set forth in the PSMA, formally ratifying the treaty further demonstrates the U.S.’ commitment to preventing IUU product from entering domestic markets and will hopefully encourage other port states to implement and ratify the treaty as well.

FishWise will continue to monitor the progress of the PSMA and make a public announcement once it’s ratified by 25 nations and goes into effect. To learn more about ways to address IUU fishing, visit the FishWise Traceability & IUU Fishing Resources page.


Harvey Spears/Marine Photobank