New Zealand the 9th State to ratify the FAO Port State Measures Agreement


New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced that the New Zealand Government has ratified the 2009 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing; an agreement designed to fight illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

The objective (Article 2) of the PSM Agreement is to:

Prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing through the implementation of effective port State measures, and thereby to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems.”

To view the a PDF of the PSM Agreement click this hyperlink.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO):

The Agreement envisages that parties, in their capacities as port States, will apply the Agreement in an effective manner to foreign vessels when seeking entry to ports or while they are in port. The application of the measures set out in the Agreement will, inter alia, contribute to harmonized port State measures, enhanced regional and international cooperation and block the flow of IUU-caught fish into national and international markets. The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after the deposit of the 25th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. The Agreement is binding and stipulates minimum port States measures. However, countries are free to adopt more stringent measures than those outlined in the Agreement.”

New Zealand is the ninth country to ratify the  Port State Measures (PSM) Agreement, which requires 25 ratifications to come into force. So far only eight other states that ratified the PSM Agreement. These States are:

      • Myanmar – (November 22, 2010)
      • Sri Lanka – (January 20, 2011)
      • European Union – (July 7, 2011)
      • Norway – (July 20, 2011)
      • Chile – (August 28, 2012)
      • Uruguay – (February 28, 2013)
      • Seychelles –  (June 19, 2013)
      • Oman – (August 1, 2013)
      • Gabon – (November 15, 2013)

The FAO’s PSM Agreement sets minimum standards for port access by foreign flagged fishing vessels and related support vessels. Adopted in 2009 by the U.N. FAO, the treaty requires parties to exert greater port controls on foreign-flagged vessels, and as a result to keep IUU fish out of the world’s markets by removing incentives for the practice of IUU fishing to continue.

According to a press release by the New Zealand Government, Murray McCully (New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs) said that:

Widespread implementation of the agreement would make it more difficult and less economic to undertake illegal fishing… It would mean New Zealand fishers could operate in high-value international fisheries with less threat of illegal fishers, while ensuring sustainability of the oceans…. 

New Zealand has been at the forefront of international efforts to combat IUU fishing. Ratifying this agreement further cements our commitment.”

Nathan Guy (New Zealand Minister for Primary Industries) said that:

“For New Zealand, it [ the ratification of the PSM Agreement] will mean our fishers can operate in high value international fisheries with less threat of IUU fishers, while ensuring sustainability of our oceans…

Supporting an international framework that enables long-term sustainable use of fisheries resources is important for New Zealand.”

Essentially as the New Zealand Herald so aptly put it,

The Government has signed up to an international fisheries agreement which could [enable it to] block illegal fishers from using New Zealand ports.”

A chase at sea near South Korea: an entire fleet of illegal Chinese fishing vessels attempts to evade the South Korean Coast Guard. Source: World Ocean Review (

A chase at sea near South Korea: an entire fleet of illegal Chinese fishing vessels attempts to evade the South Korean Coast Guard.
Source: World Ocean Review (


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