Ports play a major role in the fishing industry. They give vessels and crews access to essential services and supplies and enable vessel operators to offload their catch and transport it to market. However, ports can also provide a lifeline for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, an activity that undermines the very essence of global ocean governance, threatens the sustainable use of marine resources and, consequently, the social and economic wellbeing of the coastal communities and countries that depend on them.
The United Nations Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (Port State Measures Agreement, or PSMA), adopted in November 2009 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is an ambitious international agreement that aims to stop the use of ports by IUU fishing and support vessels. It provides port States with a set of highly cost-effective measures that, when implemented globally and effectively, will ensure that a country's ports are closed to IUU fishing fleets. For this to be possible, particularly in the ports of developing countries, a comprehensive set of tools is needed to support the practical implementation of the Agreement.
As part of its commitment to improve ocean governance, the Pew Environment Group is developing the PSMA Implementation Toolkit. The toolkit aims to help developing countries identify their capacity needs, provide them with key information, and guide them through the most technical and detailed elements of the Agreement.
The toolkit is an open and evolving set of practical materials, developed using on-the-ground experience. Input from potential users is a key element of the toolkit's evolution. To achieve this, we encourage collaboration with national and regional authorities in the ongoing development of these materials.