The government of Mozambique has today became the third African country to ratify the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), this is part of the measures towards curve Illegal fishing which is estimated to be responsible for a $35 million loss for Mozambique each year.
African countries are highly targeted by distant water fishing vessels that undertake Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities. This is due to insufficient fisheries monitoring and governance in the region. Mozambique joins Seychelles and Gabon in Africa and other countries globally that have already ratified the agreement.
The ratification means that Mozambique will be better able to curb illegal fishing practices, close its markets to illegally caught fish and close its ports to illegal operators.
The key identified IUU fishing risks in Mozambique includes fishing without a license, unauthorized transhipments, failing to report catches and making false reports, keeping juvenile fish or fish that are otherwise protected, fishing in closed areas or during closed seasons, or using prohibited fishing gear that damages ecosystems. These practices endanger community livelihoods bearing in mind that two-thirds of Mozambique’s population lives along the coast and depends on fish as a key source of food and employment.
The Port State Measures agreement is a cost-effective way to ensure national and international action to prohibit vessels that are suspected of illegal activity from landing at ports or receiving port services.
The Port State Measures Agreement was brokered by 92 nations through the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and was opened for signature on November 23, 2009. The agreement will take effect once 25 parties have signed it.
If fully enforced, this agreement will help close ports to vessels suspected of illegal fishing and block illegally caught fish from entering the global market.
At a personal level it is very satisfying as I lived with my family there in 2002, working on a Fisheries MCS (Monitoring, Control and Surveillance) regional strengthening project, and made friends that are today the responsible for the implementation of this agreement. Parabéms!