By Alfred Koroma
100 states have signed to an international agreement fighting the scourge of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the Food and Agriculture Organization said on Monday, 7 November 2022.
Globally, 60 percent of port states have committed to the agreement to combat IUU fishing with Nigeria, Angola, Eritrea and Morocco being the latest countries to back the agreement.
Illegal fishing is a big challenge facing the globe, especially African marine ecosystems, costing the continent millions of dollars and hindering normal catch of local fishermen.
Report from the Financial Transparency Coalition and members published last month rated West Africa as epicentre for illegal and unregulated fishing of which majority of the industrial vessels involved in the illegal fishing are from Europe and Asia.
Africa loses $11.49bn in illicit money flows directly linked to this practice every year along with other developing countries, including Indonesia which loses $4bn and Argentina $2bn, the report said.
UN estimates 1 in every 5 fish caught around the world each year to originate from IUU fishing, contributing to greater percentage of global fisheries stocks being fully exploited, overexploited or depleted.
UN report that the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) is the first internationally binding instrument specifically designed to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing by denying port access to foreign vessels that engage in or support such practices.
“Rising consumer demand and transforming agrifood systems in fisheries and aquaculture have driven global fish production to its highest levels and there is broad recognition of the need to step up the fight against IUU fishing”, QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General is quoted saying.
“It is encouraging to see more States support the PSMA in support of the Sustainable Development Goals”, Dongyu said.