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Intelligence-led fisheries port controls programme

The 'Intelligence-led fisheries port controls' programme, promotes a risk-based approach to Port State Measure Agreement implementation and focuses primarily on the AREP process, which is the cornerstone of the Agreement.

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Port State Measures Agreement

Entered into force in 2016, the Port State Measure Agreement (PSMA), is the first legally binding international agreement designed to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.

The Agreement sets a minimum level of control a contracting State should apply to foreign fishing vessels seeking to enter its port. Under the agreement, a foreign vessel must provide an advanced request for entry to port (AREP) where it displays information on its identity, its authorization status, and its catch. That information then needs to be processed through a pre-established risk assessment implemented by the port State’s fisheries authority in cooperation with other national agencies. The establishment of such standardized procedures, based on intelligence, enables national authorities to accept or refuse the vessel entry or to subject its entrance to inspection. The implementation of strong port state measures ensures that IUU fishing has no market to land their catch and cuts profit to illegal operators.

At least 50% of African coastal States ratified the PSMA, showing their determination to deter IUU fishing. However, its practical implementation could constitute a challenge for some States. Indeed, it might require the enactment of a new legal framework, new law enforcement procedures, new qualifications, new tools, and effective access to intelligence.

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What we do 

TMT and Global Fishing Watch (GFW) have developed a dedicated programme to assist the practical implementation of the PSMA by introducing new tools and methods and providing capacity building to national authorities. The ‘Intelligence-led fisheries port controls’ programme, promotes a risk-based approach to PSMA implementation and focuses primarily on the AREP process, which is the cornerstone of the Agreement.

TMT and GFW directly assists States with the implementation of the AREP process, from design to operationalization. We provide assistance to countries that do not have an AREP procedure in place, and for countries that have already established one, we help them to strengthen the existing framework. In both cases, trainings are conducted to provide national authorities with example of AREP forms, vessel risk assessment and standardized procedures. These training are also an opportunity for participants to use intelligence and analytical tools.

The programme is also integrated into our broader Joint Analytical Cell (JAC) cooperation.


Learn more about the JAC here.


Port Profiles

Tools and methods introduced under the programme include a ‘PSMA port profile’, which is prepared for each designated port in the participating countries. The port profile provides an overview of port visits by foreign-flagged fishing vessels over a reference period of three years and is used to inform the baseline risk analysis, which guides the processing of future AREPs and relevant port entry and inspection decisions.

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Vessel Viewer

The programme also introduces Vessel Viewer, a mobile application developed by Global Fishing Watch and TMT aimed at providing port inspectors with the most up-to-date information on a fishing vessel’s identity and operations. Vessel Viewer is therefore part of the toolbox that fisheries agents use when assessing a vessel’s port entry request as part of the AREP process.

Learn more about Vessel Viewer here.


Training Activities

Training activities under the programme cover a wide range of aspect of the PSMA such as vessel identity verification, document verification, intelligence sharing, positional data analysis, fishery regulation, regional cooperation, law enforcement and vessel inspection. Organized in-country as classroom training or mentorship sessions, or remotely their duration and the subjects covered are chosen in collaboration with participating countries and depending on assistance they may be receiving from other players such as FAO.

​Desk-based practical exercises based on scenarios or real-life cases are conducted in the classroom or at the FMC (Fisheries Monitoring Centre), which enables participants from different administrations to work together as a team and to use new analytical tools and methods.  Training sessions can also involve port inspection sessions led by experienced inspectors to allow participants to put into practice what was taught during the training but also to gain practical knowledge.

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Contact us for more information about the Intelligence-led fisheries port controls programme

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