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First global illegal fishing treaty agreed: UN

by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) Sept 1, 2009
A group of 91 countries have agreed on a treaty that will block ships involved in illegal fishing from entering signatory ports and thus help prevent the fish going to market, the UN said on Tuesday.

The UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) hailed the agreement to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as "the first ever global treaty focused specifically on the problem."

New measures include requiring foreign fishing vessels to request permission to enter port ahead of time, informing the authorities of their fish cargo, as well as committing signatories to regular inspections of foreign ships.

Illegal fishing accounts for 14 percent of all fish caught in the world, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Those that have agreed to the treaty include Brazil, the European Union, Japan, Russia and the United States.

The treaty will be examined by the FAO's Council later this month, and go to the FAO Conference in November for formal adoption. It must then be approved by individual nations, and will come into effect shortly after 25 have done so.

An FAO report in March said that 19 percent of major commercial fish stocks it monitors are being overfished.

Areas with the highest levels of fully-exploited stocks are the northeast Atlantic, the western Indian Ocean and the northwest Pacific, the FAO said.

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