Un Port State Measures Agreement

This international treaty sets a minimum global standard for measures that port states must take against vessels that engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. It also sets minimum standards for related activities that support such a fishery. Finally, it recognizes the sovereignty of states to apply stricter measures against foreign vessels wishing to enter their ports. By complying with the PSMA, port states are showing that they are taking their responsibilities seriously and continue to ensure access to important markets where seafood buyers have committed to ending IDN fishing. Many of the operational requirements of the agreement were general practice for the United States, with modest adaptations to existing procedures. For example, under other U.S. laws, all foreign-flagged U.S. Coast Guard vessels must have notice of arrival before entering a U.S. port. NOAA has worked closely with the Coast Guard to improve existing communication and information sharing mechanisms for NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement to review the entry or refusal to carry foreign-flagged fishing or fishing vessels, in accordance with the Port State Port Measures Agreement and the Port State Measures Act. This screening procedure allows us to verify, before the arrival of the vessels, basic information, such as flag status, on-board catches, fishing authorizations/authorizations, the latest fishing activities and other relevant information.

With the same information, we simultaneously use this process to prioritize and identify an inspection cause. Six signatory countries have not ratified the treaty: Angola, Benin, Brazil, Canada, Samoa and Sierra Leone. This agreement does not focus solely on IND fishing vessels. Measures are also needed against vessels that carry out support activities, such as refuelling or transferring fish from IND fishing vessels at sea. Particular attention should also be paid to the implementation of the PSMA to ensure that commitments are followed by effective measures and the correct implementation of the provisions of the agreement. Countries note that the agreement is an inexpensive instrument to combat illegal fishing. Sending patrol vessels to pursue and possibly arrest illegal operators on the high seas is costly and dangerous. In comparison, port surveillance is safer and less costly. Under the Regulations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a legal and regulatory mandate to control access and use of port services to each vessel: these lists of illegal, unreported and unregulated vessels are key instruments in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing worldwide. Several regional fishing organizations have already reached agreements to share their lists.

In this way, members can take the necessary steps to deny entry or access to the port of these vessels, making illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing increasingly difficult and costly. The provisions of the PSMA apply to fishing vessels requesting entry into a given port of a different state than that of their flag state. The agreement does not apply to fish caught by foreign vessels, landed outside the United States and then legally imported into the United States. The ship inspection standards mentioned in the agreement have long been standard procedures of the Prosecution Office for conducting in-depth inspections. The main adaptations are the verification and management of landings. Currently, we will be shipping about 60% of foreign-flagged fishing vessels and fishing support vessels that land at U.S. ports. We continue to assemble and inspect a significant number of foreign vessels and have implemented the required inspection form of the Agreement.