Success Story: Reeling in Illegal Fishing

The Facts

About one-fifth of all fish taken from the world's oceans are caught either illegally or beyond the reach of regulators, significantly threatening the global ocean ecosystem and undermining the livelihoods of legitimate fishers.

The Challenge

If implemented well, port State measures—designed to prevent the landing of illegally caught fish at ports—can be one of the most efficient and cost-effective instruments to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Because of varied standards, patchy enforcement and a failure to share information, the effectiveness of existing port State measures has been less than ideal.

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Our Goal

The Pew Environment Group aims to deter and prevent illegal fisheries by encouraging the adoption of global minimum standards for port State measures.

The Results

In November 2009, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization adopted the Agreement of Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. Once the agreement is in force, governments will be obliged for the first time to inspect fishing vessels and close their harbors to those operating outside the law.

The Pew Environment Group provided  treaty negotiators with legal analysis, scientific information and research documenting the need to strengthen existing measures to combat illicit fishing. We successfully advocated for the inclusion of stronger measures to ensure greater information-sharing and capacity-building  for developing countries so that the treaty can be more effective once it is implemented.  

What You Can Do

The Port State Measures Agreement will go into effect when 25 signatories have ratified and implemented it.

You can help combat illegal fishing by writing to your government leaders to encourage them to quickly ratify and effectively implement the Port State Measures Agreement. Find out more.