Illegal fishing agreement to push pirates out of ports | WWF

Illegal fishing agreement to push pirates out of ports

Posted on
27 November 2009
Rome, Italy – A new international agreement to better control vessels in the world’s ports will cut off access to global markets for pirate fishers, responsible for fueling overfishing and the illegal seafood trade.

This week, states participating in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) adopted an agreement on port control of vessels engaged in fishing and fish trade, which will greatly reduce illegal fishing.

The new Binding International Agreement on Port State Control Measures to Combat, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing (Port State Agreement) sets minimum standards for what every port state must do to prevent illegally caught fish from being offloaded and reaching global markets.

WWF applauds the FAO for ensuring that the Port State Agreement was successfully developed and adopted, and commends progressive member states such as Norway for encouraging the negotiation process for the past two years.

“The oceans are not a ‘free-for-all.’ This landmark agreement makes clear the responsibility of states to keep illegal fish from entering their ports;” said Miguel A. Jorge Director Marine Program at WWF International. “States serious about stamping out pirate fishing and preventing illegally caught seafood from reaching our dinner plates will sign on to this agreement quickly.”

The Port State Agreement was opened for signature on Nov. 23 during the FAO Annual Conference in Rome. Currently, 11 states including the European Union, Chile, Indonesia, Norway and the United States have signed the new treaty, an important first step to become a party to the agreement. In order to enter into force, 25 states need to become parties to the Port State Agreement.

Illegal fishing is one of the largest causes of overfishing and threatens the livelihoods of legitimate fishers and coastal communities. Current estimated value of financial losses because of illegal fishing worldwide is estimated at USD 10 billion to USD 23 billion annually.