The government of the Seychelles has formally ratified the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), adopted in 2009 and which is a key international agreement to keep illegally caught fish from entering markets. Seychelles will be the first African and ACP country to have ratified the Agreement.
In its press release, the Seychelles government highlighted that: As one of the major tuna fishing ports of the region where 85% of tuna caught in the South West Indian Ocean are landed or transshipped, it is important for Seychelles to be part of this global effort to help combat illegal fishing. The Seychelles Fishing Authority will be the implementing agency of this Agreement.
The PSMA requires nations that are party to the Agreement to take a number of practical steps to deny port entry, and access to port services, to foreign fishing and transport vessels that have illegally fished, or vessels that have supported such illegal fishing (for refuelling, etc.).
A representative of the Pew Charitable Trusts, an organisation which from the outset supported efforts made to develop this international agreement, stated that By ratifying the PSMA, this vital port in the Indian Ocean has just sent a very clear message that it is resolutely closed to illegal fishers. The Pew Charitable Trusts is also urging all countries concerned to ratify it so that it can enter into force in 2014.
The PSMA will enter into force after ratification or accession by 25 FAO members. The Seychellois government is the seventh to ratify the PSMA, following Chile, the European Union, Myanmar, Norway, Sri Lanka and Uruguay.