ISSFRFMO port State measures should be more closely aligned with the PSMA, says a new ISSF report. Photo: ISSF

Port State measures established by tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) are not adequate to deter illegal, unreported, and unreported (IUU) fishing, a new report has found.

‘ISSF 2021-09: Port State Measures in Tuna RFMOs: Benchmarking RFMO Port State Measures Against the 2009 FAO PSMA and Identifying Gaps’ found the measures did not align closely enough with the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA).

Report author Holly Koehler, Vice President, Policy & Outreach at ISSF, noted “stronger and more consistent implementation is needed by all port States”.

She stated: “In the case of tuna, one of the most highly traded fisheries products that is caught in all oceans, the RFMOs responsible for tuna management have not incorporated those standards consistently or fully into their own measures — or, in the case of one RFMO, even adopted port State measures at all.

“Our report prioritizes the changes each RFMO should make to strengthen its measure by more closely aligning it with the PSMA — thereby improving fisheries management, flag State performance and international efforts to combat IUU.”

Gaps in three areas

Through analysis of the port State measures adopted by CCSBT, IOTC, WCPFC and ICCAT, the report identifies key areas of difference among these RFMO measures, plus each measure’s gaps with PSMA implementing principles and operating standards provisions.

These gaps fall into three areas:

Operational gaps, including no requirements applicable to foreign-flagged vessels entering any non-designated port; no requirements for information to be submitted in advance for port entry; no denial of port entry or use provisions; no harmonized priorities for inspections of vessels in ports; and a lack of minimum inspection levels.

Information gaps, including no explicit requirements for port States to report on the denial of port entry or use by a vessel; and no obligation to report on all port inspections, not just those where violations are found.

Implementation gaps, including a lack of minimum standards for port inspections, training and/or minimum standards for those data to be included in inspection reports.

IATTC is the only tuna RFMO that has not yet adopted a regional port State measure.

The report also outlines priorities for advocacy by stakeholders on improving port State measures for each of the tuna RFMOs.

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