With the ratification of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) by the 25th nation, the PSMA formally came into force on 5th June 2016.
The 32nd Session of the FAO’s Committee on Fisheries held in Rome, on 11-15 July 2016, officially welcomed the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU).
On this occasion, many delegates highlighted the continued need for more countries to become parties to the agreement, particularly key port States.
In the same vein, the republics of Togo and Ghana, both neighboring and member countries of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) had taken the lead to ratify the PSMA in the Central Gulf of Guinea. National Assemblies of Togo and Ghana have given their approval for the two countries to be parties of the 2009 FAO Port State Measures Agreement on 26th and 29th July 2016 respectively.
FCWC’s sub region comprises six countries: Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, and has significant operating ports. Therefore, the PSMA ratification is a great way for member States to demonstrate their commitment to stop illegal fishing as well as to provide a practical tool to prevent illegal fish from entering the supply chain.
Championed by Togo and Ghana, the PSMA ratification should complement the actions already taken in the sub-region and facilitate the development of a harmonized port and vessel control scheme at the sub-regional level. The adoption of the Convention on the Pooling and Sharing of Information and Data relating to the FCWC’s area as well as the West Africa Task Force (WATF) established by the FCWC have already paved the way for a strong regional cooperation on Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and the interagency approach.
FCWC will continue to support members towards ratification and implementation of the PSMA. Mr Seraphin DEDI, Secretary General of the Committee strongly believes that, based on support provided to raise awareness on the PSMA and assist FCWC’s member States to ratify the agreement, more countries in the sub region will follow Togo and Ghana and be parties to the agreement.