Port State Measures Agreement to Enter Into Force

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 17, 2016

The world marked a turning point yesterday in the global fight against illegal fishing.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced that 29 countries and the European Union have become party to the 2009 Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. With 30 parties on board, the agreement will officially enter into force on June 5, 2016, giving countries that have joined the agreement the necessary tools to prevent the offloading and sale of IUU fishing products.

Illegal fishing steals billions of dollars’ worth of resources from our ocean each year, hurting those who play by the rules, including tens of thousands of Americans who support their families by fishing responsibly and legally.

When I hosted the first Our Ocean Conference in 2014, only 10 parties had joined the Agreement since its adoption in 2009, so we decided to highlight this as a priority moving forward. The dramatic increase in just two years is a clear indication of the growing global recognition that the problem of IUU fishing must be solved.

To have maximum impact, we need more countries to join the fight against IUU fishing. As countries close off ports to illicit fishing products, those involved in IUU fishing will have to incur more expense and travel greater distances to land and sell their illegally caught fish. Together we are changing the incentives of the fishing industry to benefit honest fisher people and to better manage our valuable natural resources.

The entry into force of this Agreement is part of a global movement to take action to protect our ocean.

Last October, I announced the Sea Scout program which will coordinate international efforts and training to help identify and interdict those involved in IUU fishing. This September, I will host the third Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C.

During the conference, we will welcome the Port State Measures Agreement as a new weapon in our arsenal designed to fight IUU and to further protect our ocean, while we continue to urge other countries around the world to join and implement it.

Together we are safeguarding our ocean for future generations.