During the development of the FAO Port State Meaures Agreement (PSMA) MRAG were contracted by the Pew CHaritable Trusts to produce a report to assess the real world impact of the introduction of the PSMA as a legally binding tool. The PSMA was intended to address the challenges posed by IUU fishing, and this report considered in particular its implementation needs and the clarity and effectiveness of its provisions. In doing this, we identified a number of types of IUU fishing that might not be easy to detect using the minimum standards suggested by the present text. A number of identifying workable solutions were presdented which would increase the effectiveness of the draft Agreement.

As part of this study MRAG:

  • Defined the different types/cases of IUU fishing (i.e. illegal; unreported; unregulated; national; international; “legally” traded; illegally traded; involving reefers; involving supply vessels, etc.)
  • Identified the key provisions of the treaty that would be key to the effectiveness of the treaty
  • Identified ambiguous language in the draft PSMA provisions and define their best and worse interpretations with respect to achieving the objectives of the treaty mentioned above.
  • Assess impacts of the provisions for the different types of IUU fishing identified.
  • Identified any challenges countries may face when implementing the PSMA. 
  • Indicated possible improvements in the language of the agreement, including its annexes that would facilitate implementation or reduce ambiguity. (As the negotiations were almost finalised as this project was implemented this effort focussed on essential items).
  • Identified areas in the PSMA that would need to be further defined to improve the effectiveness of the implementation of the treaty by the drafting of technical guidelines.



Name of Client

Pew Charitable Trusts

Project Dates