Statement on Traceability and Port State Measures

(View the accompanying press release, here)

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities are putting fish stocks and marine ecosystems in peril, jeopardizing a vital supply of food and nutrition for billions of people. As leaders in the seafood sector, we are determined to act collaboratively with our supply chain partners and with governments to combat this scourge.

Our goal is to create a future in which global seafood supply chains are transparent and support sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and healthy marine ecosystems. Achievement of those goals requires our commitment to measures that ensure that the seafood we buy and sell along our supply chains is sourced from responsible producers that have not engaged in IUU activities.

Critical to achieving this goal is assuring that robust controls are being applied in the ports where our seafood is landed or transhipped. Aligned with our commitments to traceability and sustainability, therefore, we call on governments to do their part through the implementation of port state measures (PSM), that are aligned with the requirements of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), to ensure that illegally caught fish cannot enter the market. We believe that if industry and governments act together, fishers engaged in IUU activities will have nowhere to land or sell their catch.

To those ends we will:

• Endorse the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) Standards and Guidelines for Interoperable Seafood Traceability Systems (Version 1.0) as industry-wide standards for seafood traceability and recognise the achievement of higher standards where they are being met. Where a company is already implementing a verifiable traceability scheme that meets or exceeds the GDST Standard, it will share lessons-learned and advocate for industry achievement of those standards.

• Commit to greater due diligence of PSM implementation for ports where product is being landed, with particular attention to ports that have been found to be associated with a higher risk of IUU catch or products entering the market.

• Support government efforts to build capacity and adopt practices consistent with PSMA standards in ports where catches are routinely landed or transshipped for company supply chains.

• Signal that in the future we will increasingly give preference to sourcing fish that have been landed or transhipped at ports that are implementing PSM that are aligned with the requirements of the PSMA.

• Explore how public platforms for vessel data can support effective implementation of port state measures while taking relevant confidentiality requirements into account.

Aligned with our actions, we call on governments to:

• Ratify and implement the PSMA or implement PSMs consistent with the principles and standards of the PSMA

• Ensure that information about all internationally operating vessels under their flag has been uploaded to the FAO Global Record of fishing vessels by June 2021

• Ensure that all Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) have adopted PSMs that are aligned with PSMA requirements

• Ensure timely exchange of operational data on fishing activities – including data from automatic satellite location devices, transshipment reports, and catch data – to enable efficient risk assessment, inspection and timely processing of vessels scheduled to enter port and/or offload product.

*Although the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (FAO) is a member of the GSSI Steering Board, GSSI’s participation in the coalition Statement does not constitute an FAO endorsement of the GDST Standard V1.0. The GDST Standard V1.0 is an industry standard and FAO cannot endorse any industry standard.