Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Japan Joins Agreement to Fight Illegal Fishing

Popular
Japan Joins Agreement to Fight Illegal Fishing
Buyers look through frozen tuna on sale at the fish market in Tokyo's Tsukiji district. Rob Gihooly

By Tony Long

Japan, one of the world's largest fish importers, has joined 47 other governments in ratifying the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA)—an international treaty designed to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.


Adopted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2009, the PSMA helps governments strengthen their port controls to better recognize suspicious catch and, when appropriate, reject or seize it. The pact also facilitates regional cooperation among parties to the treaty to help reduce the once-common practice of "port shopping" by illegal fishing operators.

Illegal and unreported fishing is estimated to account for up to $23.5 billion worth of seafood each year—or as much as 1 in 5 wild-caught marine fish. Illegal fishing practices destroy marine ecosystems, deplete fish populations and threaten the livelihoods of those in coastal communities whose economies rely heavily on fishing.

While Japan maintains its long tradition of fishing, its fleets no longer catch enough to meet domestic demand. As a result, Japan has become the third-largest market for fish imports, after the European Union and the U.S.

As more governments join and implement the PSMA, illegal fishermen will have a harder time getting their ill-gotten catch into the global seafood market, which will greatly reduce the profit potential of fishing outside the law. The treaty calls for an information-sharing system that requires countries to notify nearby ports when a vessel may be seeking to land illicit catch. This reporting structure and information exchange aim to improve port-level data on fish landings and vessel activity.

Japan maintains significant influence on international fisheries issues and seafood markets: The country is, among other things, the world's top consumer and fishing nation of the bluefin tuna, a species that fishing has depleted by more than 97 percent. With such stature, Japan must engage with other governments to implement precautionary, science-based catch limits that support sustainable commercial fishing.

Still, the government's efforts to curb illegal fishing have been gaining momentum for several years. As a member of all regional fisheries management organizations, Japan has consistently supported the adoption of catch documentation schemes and other anti-IUU fishing measures.

After an EU-Japan statement in 2012 on fighting IUU fishing, Japan showed a real commitment to ratifying the PSMA. Now that it has done so, Japan is setting an example for other fishing nations in the region and the work must persist. With each ratification the treaty becomes more effective. The Pew Charitable Trusts applauds Japan's commitment to fighting IUU fishing and we are confident that more governments will sign on to the PSMA this year.

Tony Long leads The Pew Charitable Trusts' efforts to end illegal fishing worldwide.

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less
What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out? Ronny Hartmann / AFP / Getty Images

By Zheng Chen and Darren H. S. Tan

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch