Somalia has joined 13 other countries and the European Union in the global fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by ratifying the Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). With this action, Somalia has shown the international community that it is committed to protecting its own marine resources in addition to supporting other nations in the worldwide effort to curb IUU fishing.
The PSMA outlines requirements and actions that port states can use to prevent IUU fish from entering the global market including inspections of catch, licenses, and gear to ensure they comply with national and international law. Additionally, the agreement puts responsibility on the flag states to ensure their fishing fleets comply with the PSMA. Especially relevant to Somalia’s ratification, there are provisions for the developed signatories to the treaty to aid the developing states in enacting all the terms of the agreement. By signing the treaty, Somalia gains valuable allies that can provide assistance and advice about how best to implement the measures. After Somalia’s ratification, ten more countries need to ratify the PSMA for it to enter into force.
The PSMA has already proved valuable to Somalia. In May of 2015, Somalia implored Oman, one of the first countries to ratify the PSMA, to use the treaty to close its port to Korean-owned trawlers operating illegally in Somali waters. This was a significant achievement for Somalia, which has struggled with foreign vessels fishing in its waters with impunity for decades. The PSMA offered Somalia the ability to involve a neighboring nation committed to the same cause of stopping illegally caught fish from entering the marketplace.
Read the Port State Measures Agreement here: www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/legal/docs/2_037t-e.pdf