Broad alliance of seafood sustainability groups calls for more international action against IUU fishing

A group of seafood sustainability organizations are calling on national governments around the world to take more action to combat illegal, undeclared and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

In a joint statement, SeaBOS, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI), the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST), the Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) and Sea Pact called on nations to ratify and implement the Port State Measures Agreement; fully implement the World record; adopt the Voluntary Transhipment Guidelines agreed In FAO; and agree to THE Roadmap for the fight against IUU fishing adopted by THE Savings of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

“In recent years, there has been an encouraging series of international agreements and commitments For address IUU fishing. But Implementation To often late. THE crucial and the urgent need now is to turn agreements and commitments into action,” the groups said in a joint statement. “As leaders in the seafood industry, we work with our supply chain partners to identify and combat IUU fishing. Member coalitions act to identify and remove IUU fishing from their operations (SeaBOS, ISSF, GSSI, Sea Pact); establish full traceability across their entire supply chains (GDST, GTA, ISSF); achieve 100% observer coverage of all at-sea transhipments (ISSF, GTA); and to pilot and adopt electronic systems to ensure the legality of fish caught (Sea Pact, SeaBOS, ISSF, GTA). But We need Governments For TO DO their part For ensure This all ships can be reliably identified and that effective controls are in place.

The groups identified the Port State Measures Agreement as a vital agreement that can be effective in preventing, deterring and eliminating IUU fishing by preventing illegally fishing vessels from entering ports and landing their catches. Since its entry into force in 2016, 74 States and the European Union have ratified the PSMA. The groups said all countries must ratify the agreement and do the work necessary to implement it properly, including sharing information through established global And regional platforms such as Global Record, which tracks the registration and authorizations, ownership, identification and activity overviews of each fishing vessel; Registration of all designated ports through the PSMA Designated Ports Portal; Support the adoption of the FAO Global Information Exchange System (GIES) at the ongoing meeting of the Parties to the PSMA; And use these databases and rules to exchange information and enforce common law.

This will ensure that fair rules are applied fairly and consistently, including ensuring that vessels on an IUU list are unable to offload their catches, that all provide VMS traces for their voyages, and that all transhipments are independently verified via observer presence, electronic monitoring or equivalent sensor technologies, they said.

“Now is the time for governments to lead and show their collective commitment to implementing these instruments, enabling industry members to be more effective in their own efforts,” the groups said.

The groups have identified the Pacific as a key opportunity area – and in particular the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which has 21 member countries that collectively account for 60% of global gross domestic product.

“APEC holds immense potential to drive change in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” they said. “Currently, 14 APEC economies have ratified the PSMA, and China has expressed its intention to do so by 2025. By working together, these countries can bring about change on a scale that ensures that regional organizations of fisheries management and all ports are equipped with the necessary tools and resources to effectively implement the PSMA.

The groups called for greater investment in capacity building in the region which Pacific countries “need to effectively and systematically implement the PSMA. They also called for better collaboration with regional fisheries management organizations “to operationalize consistent port state measures across the Pacific.”

“Fully implemented, these actions will enable Pacific ports to identify, inspect and deny entry to vessels involved in IUU fishing,” the groups said. “As countries come together to implement these measures, we stand ready to strengthen their actions and initiatives by working with our supply chain the partners For identify And fight IUU fishing And accelerate THE Implementation the FAO Global Record, the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Transhipment and strong Measures. Together, We can TO DO 2023 A inflection indicate In THE struggle against IUU fishing.”

Photo courtesy of Leonardo Viti/Shutterstock

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