Japan ratifies international treaty tackling IUU

Date: May 11, 2017

Source & Author: Undercurrent News

Japanese Parliament agreed unanimously to ratify the first international treaty tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing—the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA)—on Wednesday, the Nature Conservancy said in a release.

“This puts Japan, one of the three major seafood consuming nations in the world, at the forefront in the global fight against IUU fishing,” the organization said.

Maria Damanaki, global director for oceans at The Nature Conservancy, called the decision an important milestone in the fight against IUU.

“…We expect to see important behavioral changes in the water over the next few years,” said Damanaki. “We look forward to working with Japan and other countries to increase the number of ratifications of this treaty, and ensuring its effective implementation, for which inter-governmental cooperation is the key.”

IUU fishing costs the global economy up to $23.5 billion per year and threatens the environment and the fishing communities in Japan that are operating in line with the rules. Between 11 million and 26m metric ton of fish are caught illegally every year—in other words, one in every four fish consumed is being caught illegally.

The PSMA allows Japan to strengthen seafood inspections in ports, and—if there is enough evidence—to refuse IUU fishing vessels port entry or access to port services, including the landing, trans-shipment, processing and packaging of seafood. This step will allow Japan to work closely with other key major market states such as the European Union and the US to strengthen and align their port control schemes.

The Nature Conservancy is co-hosting with Waseda University and the Japanese Fisheries Research Agency an important international conference on Seafood Transparency and Traceability to address IUU fishing, taking place in Tokyo on May 16-17.

During the conference, the latest research on the impacts of IUU fishing on the global and Japanese economies will be introduced and sessions will feature discussions on potential pathways for international cooperation to combat IUU fishing. The conference will be aimed at working with the Japanese government and other stakeholders on the implementation of the PSMA Treaty, and supporting the enhancement of international coordination and cooperation between major seafood market states.

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