Port Activity Study Reveals Potential for Illegal Fish to Enter Markets

Data shows where implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement is most needed

Port Activity Study Reveals Illegal Fish to Enter Markets

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.

The treaty requires parties to place tighter controls on foreign-flagged vessels seeking to enter and use their ports to land or transship fish. In 2019, the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics published a study, commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts, of the States with the most risk of illegally caught fish passing through their ports—and therefore where implementation of the PSMA would be most effective. By using data transmitted from fishing and fish carrier vessels, researchers identified the top 99 ports globally* by different activity criteria and ranked 140 port States by a series of risk factors. For ease of use, jurisdictions of significant size are referred to as flag and port States within this interactive.

This interactive uses this data to show the location and number of port visits by fishing fleets and the risk factors at play, helping users learn where there is a greater potential for illegally caught fish to pass through port and on to buyers and consumers.

* This interactive refers to 99 top ports due to duplication of Batsfjord and Batsfjorden found in the original study.

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Port States

137
Port States that received foreign-flagged vessels within their ports
16%
Share of the top 25 riskiest port States that had ratified the PSMA at the time of this study
54
Number of port States that hosted the top 100 busiest ports in terms of foreign vessel traffic

Ports

3,067
Ports identified through the study
43%
Share of ports that received foreign-flagged vessels
40,992
Number of times vessels visited foreign ports

Flag States

77,454
Total visits into port by vessels of any flag
92%
Percentage of flag States whose vessels visited foreign ports
25
Number of flag States whose vessels conducted 85% of foreign-vessel visits into port
Top 99 Ports by Number of Foreign Vessel Visits, 2017 Blue ports are in countries party to the Port States Measures Agreement; gray ports are not. Size is in proportion to number of visits. Double tap to zoom in. Tap again to zoom out.

Port States

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Ports

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Top 99

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Top 3 by Port State

Flag States

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New Tool Helps Evaluate Risk of Illegally-Caught Fish Passing Through Port

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New Tool Helps Evaluate Risk of Illegally-Caught Fish Passing Through Port

A new interactive tool from The Pew Charitable Trusts can help maritime and fisheries authorities and seafood buyers determine where in the world illegally-caught seafood is most likely to enter the market.