The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
By Tony Long, The Pew Charitable Trusts
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced May 16 that six countries—Dominica, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan, Thailand, Tonga and Vanuatu—had ratified the binding agreement, bringing the total to 30. They join other governments large and small around the world, including the U.S. and the European Union and demonstrate the broad range of support for the PSMA.
This is a critical step in the global fight to end illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and should lead to more governments signing on to the treaty. That would strengthen the PSMA and extend its reach to new regions. We know that more countries are in the process of ratifying the pact and we expect the numbers to grow.
Regional collaboration will help the PSMA's implementation. Efforts such as those being undertaken by members of the Central America Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization and FISH-i Africa demonstrate the importance of cooperation among neighboring nations—and its critical role in the treaty's success.
IUU fishing is a major problem around the world and poses serious threats to the effective conservation and management of fish stocks. Estimated to account for up to $23.5 billion each year or 1 in every 5 wild-caught marine fish, illegal fishing can cause the total collapse of a fishery or seriously impair the condition of fish populations. It also can harm efforts to rebuild stocks that have been overfished. In addition, IUU fishing causes economic pain—in lost revenue and employment opportunities—for many coastal communities.
The PSMA, if used in conjunction with catch documentation policies, could be one of the most cost-effective and efficient means of combating illicit fishing. By mandating that captains provide advance notice of their arrival in port and by empowering port officials to turn away suspect catch, the treaty could keep many tons of illegally caught seafood from entering national or international markets each year. Officials would be able to detain and sanction IUU vessels and their captains.
The pact also gives port officials the discretion to deny port services, such as fueling, to vessels believed to have engaged in maritime crimes. Effective implementation of these port state measures will reduce the economic incentives to engage in black-market fishing.
Ports will have to determine whether vessels are carrying illegal catch and whether this seafood is being improperly landed, transshipped, processed or sold. Doing so should reduce the number of “ports of noncompliance."
The PSMA can help with enforcement of national laws as well as conservation measures adopted by the regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs). Port states can focus on port inspections and controls than on costly efforts to monitor, pursue and inspect vessels at sea. The agreement also requires more effective cooperation and information-sharing among coastal nations, the flag states of fishing vessels and the RFMOs.
Although it's important to pause to acknowledge the results of hard work and collaboration among governments all around the world, 30 ratifications are not nearly enough. Countries can do much more in this critical fight. To ensure effective implementation and enforcement on a national level, states should incorporate the PSMA requirements in domestic legislation.
Tony Long directs the ending illegal fishing project for The Pew Charitable Trusts.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."