The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is urging African governments to sign on to the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) and to consider taking immediate action to implement the treaty.
According to FAO, the continent’s fisheries is scourged by persisting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing that put additional stress on oceans and marine resources, and siphons off billions of dollars worldwide in government revenue in the process.
Addressing a side-event on the Blue Economy at the first extraordinary Summit of the African Union on maritime safety and security and development in Africa (10-15 October, Lomé, Togo), Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, confirmed the persistent political, legal, institutional, and operational challenges in combatting IUU fishing.
“FAO is working on various fronts to combat IUU fishing through an integrated approach that includes the elaboration of national plans of action”, he said.
FAO recognizes the critical need to diversify African economies well and beyond land-based activities.
“The blue economy runs on more than just fish, but fisheries play a vital role in achieving the International Community’s objectives of eliminating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition”, Bukar added.
Mr Tijani observed that as countries continue to become party to the Agreement, and with the PSMA now in force, the focus has now shifted to its implementation, with FAO playing a critical role through its key responsibilities as reflected in the provisions.
Effective implementation of the PSMA ultimately contributes to the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems.