The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in cooperation with the Palau government opened yesterday the 4-day workshop to build capacity for implementation of the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port States Measures (PSMA) in the island nation.


Palau waters continues to be threatened by Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU), Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism (MNRET) Umiich Sengebau in his opening remarks said Palau faces “between 50 and 100 incursions by pirate vessels spread across a vast expanse of ocean. That is why the Port State Measures Agreement is so critical for Palau.”

. The FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing has been designed to intensify global collaboration between fisheries and port authorities to eliminate IUU fishing, through globally agreed  standards for concerted action and  will  enable better inspections and controls at the ports on vessels and increasing flag state responsibility.

“By creating a network of nations that share information when a vessel may be trying to land illegal catch, the PSMA aims to create the level of international cooperation we desperately need to police not just individual pirate ships, but the whole global fishing industry,” Sengebau added.

Keobel Sakuma, Palau National marine Sanctuary  (PNMS) Executive Director said that in closing Palau waters the PSMA will play an important role in enhancing Palau’s capabilities to combat IUU.

He said the agreement will require foreign vessels wishing to enter ports to request permission in advance, transmit detailed information on the identities, activities and the fish they have onboard.

As a result of the four day workshop an action plan and a national strategy will be formulated. The workshop is scheduled from Aug. 28 to September at the Palau International Coral Reef Center(PICRC).

With the national strategy, Sengebau said to ensure treaty is effective, partnerships

for global oceans governance are needed.

“We  must ensure that international cooperation and information exchange really

work to close ports to illegal fishing operations.

The workshop will also assist Palau increase capacity to implement Catch Documentation Schemes, which will enable fish to be tracked from source to shop. (By: B. Carreon) [/restrict]