The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recognizes the Philippines’ acceptance of two international agreements that will further boost efforts in ensuring sustainable management of the country’s marine resources.
The Philippines is a global center of marine biodiversity and boasts one of the longest coastlines in the world. The country is among the top fish producers globally, according to FAO’s 2018 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report.
The Philippine Government has formally accepted the following: (a) Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (The Compliance Agreement), and (b) Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing (PSMA). The two agreements were approved by FAO Member States and entered into force in 2003 and 2016, respectively.
The Compliance Agreement aims to enhance the role of countries and guide them in strengthening control over their vessels to ensure compliance with international conservation and management measures, in accordance with the relevant rules of international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This Agreement also emphasizes that countries are responsible for ensuring that none of their vessels are fishing on the high seas unless authorized, and that they can effectively exercise their responsibilities to ensure their vessels comply with international measures. The maintenance of records of fishing vessels, international cooperation, and enforcement are also covered extensively by the provisions of the Agreement.
The Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), on the other hand, is the first binding international agreement that specifically targets IUU fishing. It lays down a minimum set of standard measures for Parties to apply when foreign vessels seek entry into their ports or while they are in their ports. The PSMA aims to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by preventing vessels engaged in IUU fishing from using ports and landing their catches. Through this, the PSMA reduces the incentive of such vessels to continue to operate while it also blocks fishery products derived from IUU fishing from reaching national and international markets. (pr)