The Director-General of the food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) José Graziano da Silva has said the recent entry into force of a ground-breaking international accord on illegal fishing is a welcome development which requires effective implementation.
Addressing the “Our Ocean Conference” in the United States capital, Graziano da Silva praised the signatories of the FAO-brokered Agreement on Port State measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing .
Graziano Da Silva also provided the United States Secretary of State John Kerry with an update on the status of the treaty, which came into force in June.
He urged all other countries to follow suit in adhering to the treaty. “We need everyone to come on board, otherwise rogue fishing vessels will continue to find ways to land and introduce their illegal catches into the markets of non-PSMA countries,” he added.
Graziano da Silva likened adherence to the treaty to the international community’s commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, “a situation in which no one can be left behind.”
Under the treaty, parties are obliged to implement a number of measures while managing ports under their control, to detect illegal fishing, preventing ill-caught fish from being offloaded and sold, and ensuring that information on unscrupulous vessels is shared globally.
FAO has launched a global programme to support countries with the implementation of the treaty and complimentary instruments, Graziano da Silva said. These include the Voluntary Guidelines on Flag State Performance, which spell out a range of actions that countries can take to ensure that vessels registered under their flags do not conduct illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.