Guyana Takes Critical Step in Fight to End Illegal Fishing

South American nation ratifies PSMA

U.S. Coast Guard

Guyana's ratification of the Port State Measures Agreement demonstrates its commitment to end illegal fishing and ensures that its ports are closed to IUU fishing vessels.

The South American nation of Guyana has joined 22 other governments in ratifying the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), the international treaty intended stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Around the world, IUU fishing has been estimated to cost up to $23.5 billion each year. That amounts to about 1 in every 5 wild-caught marine fish. These practices destroy marine ecosystems, deplete fish stocks, and endanger the livelihoods of those in coastal communities who rely heavily on fishing.

With its Atlantic Ocean coastline, Guyana depends on its fishing sector for the economic and social well-being of its people. The Guyana Defence Force, responsible for protecting the nation’s  exclusive economic zone, and the Ministry of Agriculture agreed in 2014 to work collaboratively to eradicate illegal fishing in Guyana’s coastal and inland waterways.

The PSMA, adopted in November 2009 by members of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, is designed to stop illegally caught fish from entering the global seafood market through legitimate ports. Once the agreement enters into force, it will require member governments to impose greater port controls to ensure that ports are closed to IUU fishing vessels and their illegal catch. States enforcing the treaty will refuse port entry or access to services to foreign-flagged vessels known to be engaged in IUU fishing. That includes the landing and transshipment of fish. 

The PSMA will take effect once it has been ratified by 25 governments.  In South America, Chile and Uruguay have already signed on. Adding Guyana to the list means that only two are left to go. We expect the remaining countries to ratify in 2016.

Tony Long directs the ending illegal fishing project for The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.