Statement

Pew Commends Japan’s Accession of the Port State Measures Agreement

International treaty to end illegal fishing gains strength

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This statement was updated on June 2, 2017 to reflect the current number of Parties to the Port State Measures Agreement.

LONDON—The Pew Charitable Trusts praised today’s announcement by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that Japan has ratified the Port State Measures Agreement, an international treaty designed to curb illegal fishing.

Japan represents one of the largest markets for fish imports, behind only the European Union and the United States. The ratification of the Agreement signifies a critical step in Japan’s efforts to close its ports to illegal fishers.

Today’s announcement, in which Japan joins 46 other countries and the European Union in ratifying the Agreement, builds on actions the FAO has taken since it adopted the treaty in 2009. It entered into force on June 5 when it was ratified by six countries: Dominica, Guinea, Sudan, Thailand, Tonga, and Vanuatu. Japan is one of more than 20 countries that have become a Party to the treaty since it entered into force. The Agreement is a vital tool in the global fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which accounts for up to $23.5 billion worth of seafood every year.

Tony Long, director of Pew’s ending illegal fishing project, issued the following statement:

“Illegal fishing undermines social, environmental, and economic security around the world, especially for developing countries whose economies rely heavily on seafood. Each year, up to 26 million tons of fish are stolen from our seas, or 1 in every 5 wild fish sold.

“Japan is one of the world’s top fishery producers and has demonstrated a growing concern about illegal fishing in the past several years through its membership in all regional fisheries management organizations and its consistent support of catch documentation schemes and IUU fishing measures.

“Although fertile fishing grounds surround the country, its fishery production has been on the decline for the past few decades, making it more dependent on imports. Given Japan’s importance as both a fishing nation and consumer of seafood, its accession to the Port State Measures Agreement is an important step toward eliminating it both as a market and opportunity to land seafood that has been caught illegally.

“Japan imports about half of the seafood it consumes. This ratification can give Japanese consumers additional assurance that the government is committed to ensuring that the fish they buy has been caught legally—and help protect the country’s domestic fisheries.

“Increasing numbers of people in the world want to know that the seafood they consume is caught legally and comes from well-managed fisheries. Japan is a key actor in the global fishing industry and plays a critical role in moving toward a future of legally caught seafood and transparency in the supply chain. Japan’s accession to the Port State Measures Agreement demonstrates the strong leadership needed in this region of the world.”

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at pewtrusts.org.

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