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G20 affirms commitment to end illegal fishing

July 15, 2019

Members of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, together with the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) and the Friends of Ocean Action appealed to G20 governments to close the net on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by becoming Parties to the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA)

The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy is made up of 15 Heads of State and the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, while the Friends of Ocean Action is a coalition of over 50 ocean leaders fast-tracking solutions to the most pressing ocean challenges. Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions co-director Jim Leape is part of an expert group advising the High Level Panel and is also a member of the Friends of Ocean Action.

The appeal to G20 governments was reflected in a letter published in the Financial Times, signed by Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and Co-Chair of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy and Member of the Friends of Ocean Action, and Shigeru Ito, Chairman of the SeaBOS Initiative and Chief Executive Officer and President of Maruha Nichiro Corporation Japan.

The letter describes the PSMA as “a powerful platform for governments and policymakers to help combat” the threat of IUU fishing, describing the agreement as “an international treaty, in line with key targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to keep illegal fish out of ports.”

IUU fishing represents up to 26 million tonnes of fish caught annually, valued at up to $23 billion. The illegal enterprise also fuels food insecurity, poverty, human rights abuses and violence, putting billions of people at risk.

The letter concluded by saying that “eighty-six countries have now signed up. We need G20 countries and all important flag and port states to join them and implement this agreement”.

An entire paragraph on IUU fishing was included in the final leaders’ declaration at the end of the G20 Osaka Summit:

40. As illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains in many parts of the world a serious threat to the sustainability of the ocean, we recognize the importance of addressing IUU fishing for ensuring the sustainable use of marine resources and conserving the marine environment including biodiversity, and reaffirm our commitment to end IUU fishing.

This work is a part of G20 efforts to foster development and address other global challenges to pave the way toward an inclusive and sustainable world, as envisioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


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Contact Information

Nicole Kravec
Communications Manager