A third of fish stocks caught at unsustainable levels
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — One-third of the world’s fish stocks are being caught at biologically unsustainable levels, up threefold from the mid-1970s, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said.

FAO said illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is estimated to account for up to 26 million tons a year, or around one-fifth of the global catch, and undermines efforts to ensure sustainable fisheries through effective fish stock management measures around the world.

On the celebration of the International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing last Tuesday, FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva hailed the more than 100 countries that are committed to combating unsustainable and illegal fishing, calling the rapid international adoption of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing a “fantastic achievement.”

The PSMA, an international treaty brokered by FAO, entered into force in 2016. Today, more than 100 countries have adhered or are preparing to do so.

The Philippines is a party to the agreement.

The PSMA requires foreign vessels to submit to inspections at any port of call, if deemed necessary by port states, and for such states to share information on detected violations. The agreement strengthens prior rules requiring countries to control the activities of their own fishing fleets and is designed to raise the cost of IUU fishing by making it harder for wrongly caught fish to be sold.

“One of the main conditions of the PSMA to achieve good results is to have a large number of countries preventing vessels from landing their illegal catch,” Da Silva said.

“Otherwise, if a vessel cannot disembark in one country, it will do so in a neighboring country.”

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