Global ocean conservation organization Oceana lauded the Philippine government for its accession to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) agreement to promote compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas, known as Compliance Agreement, and Agreement on Port State Measures to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF) as well as five conventions of the International Maritime Organization on marine environmental protection, navigational safety and seafarer safety.
Port State Measures (PSMs) are requirements of port states which oblige the compliance of all foreign fishing vessels in return for the right to dock and use port facilities. Typical PSMs include notification of port entry, use of designated ports, restrictions on entry, landing and transshipment of seafood catches, restrictions on supplies or services, regular port inspections, plus trade sanctions against IUUF. According to FAO, “The growing reliance on port states to combat unsustainable fishing practices stems to a great extent from the failure of flag states to effectively control fishing operations carried out by vessels flying their flags.”
The accession has made the country a party to the agreements, the implementation of which helps in the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) specifically SDG 14, which aims to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
“This is an important step in better protecting our fisheries and our people who depend on a healthy and vibrant ocean for their livelihood and resources. As an organization campaigning for sustainable and science-based interventions and effective fisheries management, amid the grave threats posed by overfishing and illegal fishing, we particularly welcome these measures and reiterate the call for no-nonsense implementation of our fisheries laws and international commitments,” notes Oceana Philippines VP Gloria Estenzo Ramos.
IUUF is a global threat to fisheries, which are in an alarming state of decline, notwithstanding the management and conservation of both fisheries and marine biodiversity. PSMs have been proven to deter IUUF, making them strong instruments to fight illegal fishers.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation and works in 17 countries to rebuild abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With over 100 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results worldwide.