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Mozambique Ratifies Key Treaty, Sending a Warning to Illegal Fishers in the Indian Ocean

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Mozambique strengthened its commitment to ending illegal fishing in its waters on Aug. 19 by becoming the 11th State to ratify the Port States Measure Agreement (PSMA). The international treaty lays out strong port inspection standards for foreign-flagged fishing vessels that will greatly reduce illegal fishing by cutting off market access for illegally caught fish.

This move is the latest in the country’s efforts to combat illegal fishing: Mozambique is a founding member of Fish-i Africa, a partnership among seven southeastern African nations to share resources and information to help curtail illegal fishing in the western Indian Ocean.

Fishing is a major part of Mozambique’s culture and economy, accounting for 4 percent of gross domestic product and 13 percent of export income, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Annual marine catch totals about 120,000 tons, and some 500,000 Mozambicans directly depend on fishing activities for their livelihood. Seafood demand within the country is forecast to grow in coming years. Successfully fighting illegal fishing will help Mozambique meet that demand and protect fishing-related jobs.

“Ratifying the Port State Measures Agreement is one of the most cost effective things a coastal State can do to close the net on foreign illegal fishing, and we applaud Mozambique for taking this critical step,” said Tony Long, who directs Pew’s ending illegal fishing project. “The PSMA, once in force, will be a fundamental tool for governments to combat illegal fishing and make it much more difficult for illegally caught fish to enter the global market. It is good to see real momentum building worldwide for the ratification of this important treaty,” he added.

Mozambique joins Myanmar, Sri Lanka, the European Union, Norway, Chile, Uruguay, Seychelles, Oman, Gabon, and New Zealand in ratifying the PSMA. The treaty will enter into force once 25 parties ratify it.

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