Mozambique combats illegal fishing by ratifying international treaty

4 September 2014

The government of Mozambique recently ratified a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) agreement on port measures to combat, prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Following Gabon and the Seychelles, Mozambique is the third African country to sign the treaty (FAO Port State Measures Agreement – PSMA), which, in addition to the European Union, has now been ratified by New Zealand, Oman, Uruguay, Chile, Norway, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

Although 92 countries approved the creation of the PSMA in 2009, the application of the treaty depends on its approval by at least 25 countries. Mozambique’s ratification is therefore seen as a positive step towards the agreement’s implementation by environmental organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

In Mozambique, the annual impacts of illegal fishing are estimated at about US$35 million, and fishing without a license, reporting false catch quotas and catching juveniles or protected species are the biggest concerns for the authorities.

Billed as being low-cost but high-impact, the initiative also aims to ensure multilateral intervention to detect vessels suspected of illegal activities and prohibit their entry to ports of the signatory countries, as well as banning the purchase of the fish they carry. (macauhub/MZ)