Agreement to promote compliance with international conservation andmanagement measures by fishing vessels on the high seas

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One notable agreement that aims to promote compliance with international conservation and management measures by fishing vessels on the high seas is the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA).

The PSMA is an international treaty adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2009 and entered into force in 2016. Its primary objective is to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by establishing effective port state measures.

Under the PSMA, member states agree to implement specific measures to ensure that foreign-flagged fishing vessels seeking entry into their ports comply with international conservation and management measures. These measures include:

  1. Port entry controls: States are required to inspect fishing vessels for proper authorization, licenses, and documentation, such as fishing permits and catch records. If a vessel is suspected of engaging in IUU fishing, port entry may be denied or additional inspections may be conducted.
  2. Port inspection and enforcement: States must conduct inspections of foreign fishing vessels to verify compliance with relevant laws and regulations. This includes checking catch documentation, fishing gear, and any other relevant information.
  3. Information sharing and cooperation: The PSMA encourages member states to exchange information related to IUU fishing and cooperate in investigations and prosecutions. This facilitates the tracking and identification of vessels engaged in IUU fishing activities.
  4. Denial of port services: Member states can deny port services, such as fuel, supplies, and other support, to vessels suspected of engaging in IUU fishing. This creates a strong economic disincentive for vessels involved in illegal activities.

By implementing these measures, the PSMA aims to make it more difficult for IUU fishing vessels to operate and access markets for their catches. This helps conserve fish stocks, protect marine ecosystems, and promote sustainable fishing practices on the high seas.

It’s worth noting that while the PSMA primarily focuses on port state measures, there are other international agreements and organizations that work to promote compliance with conservation and management measures on the high seas, such as regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and treaties like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

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