Over 90 countries, including more than
30 from Africa, have agreed on the language of a new treaty to crack down on
illegal and unregulated fishing.
treaty would toughen port security and make it much harder for vessels to
unload illegal catches. Its official
name is the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
Doulman, an official with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's Fisheries
and Aquaculture Department in Rome, says, "It's an attempt to block the entry
of illegally caught fish into international markets, so that the perpetrators
of this type of fishing will not be able to benefit…or it will be more
difficult for them to benefit."
A fishy catch?
says the treaty contains straightforward procedures.
country…will designate ports where vessels can enter and vessels will be aware
of what's called designated ports. Then
each vessel will have to make an application to enter the port, say 24, 48
hours in advance of their arrival," he says.
up to port officials to decide whether to allow a vessel to dock or send it
they deny the vessel access, they will have to explain why, provide information
to the flag state, etc., and send the vessel away," he says.
a vessel is allowed entry, it faces close scrutiny.
will then be subject to inspection and if there is any evidence that the vessel
has been engaged in illegal fishing, then it will also be sent away. And it will be denied access to port
services…refueling, taking on food, water, things like that," he says.
Cooperation is a must
say we're talking about West Africa. We
need to have all the West African countries on board this agreement in order to
make sure that vessels, if they're denied from entering in one country, just
can't then sail into the next country," he says.
fishing includes not having a license or not reporting what types of fish have
been caught when required to do so.
The fishing treaty could be ready for
signing by November. Then 25 countries
need to ratify it before it can take effect.