The 2012 Cape Town Agreement is aimed at facilitating better control of fishing vessel safety by flag, port and coastal States. The Agreement currently has 10 Contracting States, but needs 22 for entry into force, along with a required number of aggregate fishing vessels.

Ms. Allnutt highlighted the positive collaboration between IMO, the FAO, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Pew Charitable Trusts to support ratification of the Cape Town Agreement. She also highlighted the relevance of the Cape Town Agreement to the fight against IUU fishing.

IMO, in collaboration with FAO, has been running a series of seminars around the world to explain what the Agreement is, why it is important, how it can be implemented into national legislation and what the next steps are for a Party to the Agreement. Ms. Allnutt called for good understanding and support from fisheries ministries and the fishing industry.

Although the instrument was adopted by IMO, all UN agencies that deal with ocean issues can, and should, encourage Governments to ratify the Agreement. Cooperation and collaboration are the way forward for the safety of millions of fishers across the world.

During a side event on “Ensuring socially, environmentally and commercially sustainable fisheries”, Ms Allnutt emphasised the four pillars for fishing safety, environmental protection and seafarers' training and rights – of which only the Cape Town Agreement has yet to enter into force:

  • IMO’s 2012 Cape Town Agreement (not yet in force);
  • IMO’s STCW-F Convention on training of fishers (which  entered into force in 2012);
  • ILO’s Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (Convention No. 188) (in force since November 2017); and
  • FAO’s Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA), 2009 (entered into force in 2016).

The Committee on Fisheries (COFI) is a subsidiary body of the FAO Council and provides a global inter-governmental forum to examine major international fisheries and aquaculture issues.