Port State Measures

Port State Measures

Can one international treaty help reverse years of rampant and widespread disregard for fisheries laws and policies? We believe the answer is yes, but a treaty is only as good as the parties that ratify and enforce it.

The treaty in question is the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, commonly called the Port State Measures Agreement, or the PSMA.

Adopted in 2009 by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, the treaty requires parties to strengthen and harmonize port controls for foreign-flagged vessels, and as a result to keep illegal, unreported, and unregulated, or IUU, fish out of the world’s markets.

Ports known for lax law enforcement or limited inspection capacity are a prime pathway for unethical fishermen to get their catch from ship to shelf. Port States enforcing the treaty will refuse port entry or access to port services, including landing and transshipment of fish, to foreign-flagged vessels known to have engaged in IUU fishing. For this reason, Pew is encouraging all port States to ratify and implement the PSMA.

Fishing
Fishing
Data Visualization

Port Activity Study Reveals Illegal Fish to Enter Markets

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Data Visualization

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) catch continues to enter world markets, accounting for up to $23.5 billion worth of seafood each year. To combat this illicit activity, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) came into force in 2016 after it surpassed 25 ratifications.

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Three Treaties to End Illegal Fishing

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To support efforts to end illegal fishing, The Pew Charitable Trusts advocates for the harmonized implementation of three international agreements that seek to make it more difficult for unscrupulous operators to exploit gaps in national and regional fishing regulations.

Fishing Boat
Fishing Boat
Issue Brief

The Port State Measures Agreement

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Issue Brief

The Port State Measures Agreement

When the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) entered into force in 2016, the United Nations hailed it as the beginning of a new era in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Over 25 governments had ratified or otherwise signed on to the treaty, surpassing the threshold needed to bring it into force. That number has more than doubled in the years since. But can a single treaty create a mechanism strong enough to combat widespread disregard for fisheries laws and policies? We believe the answer is yes, but the agreement is only as good as the parties that adhere to and enforce it.

Port State Measures Agreement
Port State Measures Agreement
Fact Sheet

Port State Measures Agreement: Why Seafood Buyers Should Help

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Fact Sheet

Each year, up to 26 million tons of fish are stolen from our seas. That’s 1 in every 5 fish sold at market. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a major threat to the world’s oceans, depleting already dwindling fish populations and threatening the economies and food security of communities that rely on fish.

Additional Resources

States of Innovation

Fishing port
Fishing port
Fact Sheet

What Questions Should Seafood Buyers Ask Authorities and Suppliers?

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Fact Sheet

Up to $23.5 billion worth of seafood destined for world markets is stolen from the seas each year through illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Strong port controls are needed to curb this illicit activity.

The Port State Measures Agreement Explainer