Pew Statement on New International Treaty to Address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing


Stefan Flothmann, the Pew Environment Group’s International Ocean Governance Director, today issued the following statement in response to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s members/Technical Consultation completing a treaty on port State measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

“After four rounds of intense negotiations, the FAO Technical Consultation has concluded its work on a legally binding treaty that, for the first time, defines duties of port states to control fishing vessels and penalizes illegal operators. It will help combat IUU fishing globally. 
“This treaty will aid in cracking down on rampant and widespread IUU fishing by applying port State measures to any foreign vessel that can be used for fishing or fishing-related activities.  However, the treaty’s effectiveness relies heavily upon its broad ratification, successful implementation and the willingness of nations to share enforcement information.”

The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. Pew applies an analytical approach to improving public policy and its implementation.  The objective of Pew’s Port State Performance Project is to support the development and implementation of international policies to protect the world’s oceans from harmful human activities.  To read more about Pew’s work on Port State measures, please see

  • Port State measures comprise a range of measures including: the designation of ports of landing, prohibition of entry, restriction of landing, transshipping or accessing services in port, carrying out inspections and the adoption of enforcement measures, such as vessel detention or seizure of catch and gear.
  • The treaty will be adopted as an FAO treaty.  Thus the FAO’s plenary body, the FAO conference, can ratify it in November 2009.  Once adopted, it will be open for signature.  It will enter into force once it has been ratified by at least 25 states.
  • The agreement applies to fishing vessels, reefers, cargo and container vessels carrying fish that has not been previously landed.  The agreement also covers supply ships that support vessels engaged in IUU fishing. 
  • The Pew Environment Group played an active role in all four rounds of negotiations that led to the creation of the new port State measures agreement.

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Kimberly Vosburgh