Port State Measures, Minimizing The Risk in Your Dish
This lightning round presentation will focus on how the private sector and seafood supply chains have used the Port State Measure Agreement (PSMA) to ensure the legality and absence of IUU fish from their supply chains. While the PSMA was originally intended as solely a governmental intervention, businesses in Thailand have been using the results of these checks to add assurances that can be passed to purchasers. This represents a major step forward for the private sector to address IUU fishing. Actions in Thailand over the last year by the Seafood Task Force have demonstrated the concept and a pilot program is being developed that will help the private sector and the government increase the effectiveness and transparency of this work in ways that should be replicated elsewhere.
The pilot program is making use of a variety of information technologies to ensure compliance and the sustainable management of fish stocks. It is through the use of vessel tracking data such as Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) which allows for validation against a variety of permit requirements and other regulations on fishing activities. This plethora of information is collected by satellite and terrestrial systems and along with other specialist fisheries databases are vital for governments to properly monitor fishing activities and vast areas of water. The interpretation and analysis of the data from these sources has given port states confidence in accepting vessels from other regions.
To maximize the full potential impact of the PSMA, collaboration is needed between the public and private sectors to ensure a level playing field and sustainable fish stocks. Commercial fisheries players have a responsibility to share knowledge and intelligence on fisheries activities, playing their part in supporting government efforts to verify compliance with legal regimes half a world away. This provides an opportunity to demonstrate their own compliance while aiding the identification of higher risk shipments. Businesses that both supply and receive fish products in port states have an opportunity in this regard. NGOs, too, have a supporting role, offering ideas on and solutions to IUU fishing, particularly to countries that are resource poor.
This pilot program shows that PSMA offers an opportunity to move the global seafood industry to a culture of compliance that rewards transparent and trustworthy actors with easier access to global markets and which helps identify suspicious indicators. If information is passed in a timely manner to government AND to supply chain actors, there will be an incentive for both sides to investigate the potential issue further and prevent that product from progressing in the supply chain while the relevant government agencies investigate and hopefully clear the shipment. Given the globalized nature of the seafood supply chain and the purpose of PSMA to encourage global collaboration between governments, this is an opportunity to develop a solution that can assist everyone.