Taiwan welcomes the entry into force of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA) as a major step in the global fight against illegal fishing operations, the Executive Yuan said today. The agreement, adopted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in December 2009, came into force June 5 this year.
As a member of the world community and a major fisheries nation, Taiwan supports the internationally binding agreement, the Executive Yuan said. Under the principles of equality and dignity and in accordance with international and domestic laws, Taiwan will exert every effort to implement the PSMA’s port inspection measures and fulfill its responsibilities as a port state and flag state.
In addition to supporting the spirit and content of the PSMA, the Executive Yuan has directed government agencies to ensure the treaty is realized in Taiwan. For instance, a distant water fisheries act recently passed by the Legislative Yuan incorporates the principles and spirit of the PSMA and establishes clear guidelines on foreign-flag fishing vessels entering Taiwan ports. Future related laws will also include the PSMA’s port inspection measures and adhere to decisions made by regional fisheries management organizations.
According to FAO statistics, global losses from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing are estimated to run between US$10 billion and US$23 billion each year. Aside from endangering marine life and resources, these activities cause short- and long-term economic losses to society and have harmful impacts on food security and the environment.
The Council of Agriculture said that the purpose of the PSMA is to harmonize port control regulations and prevent illegally caught seafood from reaching international markets. By denying port entry to IUU vessels, nations can significantly reduce the vessels’ chances of selling their catch. The agreement is an important tool in fighting IUU fishing and curbing illegal fishing operations worldwide.