Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Ambassador Deo Saran has deposited the instrument of accession to the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) at the Food and Agriculture Organisation, thereby formally committing Fiji before the international body to comply with the international legal standards on combating Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing.
The PSMA is the first binding international agreement aimed at combating illegal fishing. Its objective is to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing by preventing vessels engaged in IUU fishing from using ports and landing their catches. In this way, the PSMA reduces the incentive of such vessels to continue to operate while it also blocks fishery products derived from IUU fishing from reaching national, regional and international markets.
The effective implementation of the PSMA ultimately contributes to the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems. The provisions of the PSMA apply to fishing vessels seeking entry into a designated port of a State, which is different to their flag State.
In depositing the instrument on behalf of the Fijian Government at a ceremony held at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Ambassador Saran said that IUU fishing in the Pacific region “has a range of negative environmental, economic and social consequences, including threats posted on the Fijian fishing communities
“Fiji believes that the Agreement fills a gap in the international fisheries governance framework by setting internationally-agreed standards for Port State Measures. If widely implemented, it will reduce the availability of ‘ports of convenience’ [that is, ports with weak controls in place], making it increasingly difficult and less economical to undertake IUU fishing”, Ambassador Saran said.
Ambassador Saran highlighted that the Agreement marks a new chapter in Fiji’s own history as it further commits Fiji to international fisheries governance and reinforces Fiji’s reputation as a responsible fishing State. He added that it is also in line with Fiji’s own national policies including the 5 to 20 year National Development Plan and the Green Growth Framework agenda.
As Ambassador Saran deposited the instrument today, he also used the occasion to call on the other Pacific states that are most vulnerable to IUU to ratify the Agreement.
“I urge our Pacific neighbours to use the Agreement to reinforce our collective commitment to address the issue of IUU in our region. We must work closely together and strengthen our capacity to address this issue to ensure the sustainability of the marine resources in our waters”, Ambassador Saran said.