A one-day Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) stakeholders consultative meeting gets started in Zanzibar today. Bringing together government officials, civil society and regional organisations the meeting provides a platform to consider the next steps towards the United Republic of Tanzania becoming party to the Agreement.

In the opening speech Dr Islam Salum, Deputy Prinipal Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries stated, “IUU fishing is a big problem causing loss of revenue, jeopardizing food security and accelerating the degradation of biodiversity. Tanzania would like to strengthen measures to fight IUU fishing. We understand the significance of joint regional and international efforts to safeguard fisheries resources and know that as a State we have a key role to play to make sure our resources are protected ad explored in a sustainable manner.”

“The Governments of Zanzibar and Tanzania are keen not to take part in IUU fishing either knowingly or unknowingly. We recognize port State measures as one of the low cost tools that, if effectively used, can help close channels for illegal business. The two governments have interest to be part of this joint global process to curb IUU fishing through control of its ports.”

Sandy Davies, representing the FISH-i Africa Task Force at the meeting, commented, “we are delighted to be able to support this dialogue between the key stakeholders in Tanzania and Zanzibar. The countries of the Western Indian Ocean have been strong supporters of the PSMA, seeing the value of stronger controls as a opportunity to really tackle the problem of illegally caught fish getting to market, or of vessels implicated in illegal fishing being able to access port services in our region.”