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Regional webinar boosts focus on safer fishing

Fishing safety in IMO Member States from Europe (non-EU members) and the IMO's Technical Cooperation Division (TCD) region of Western Asia and Eastern Europe* formed the focus of a two-day regional webinar held on 21-22 June which explored the challenges and benefits of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA).

This event is the latest in a series of regional webinars that engage decision-makers from maritime administrations and fishery authorities in discussion about how the CTA can help boost fishing safety once it is ratified.

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement sets outs minimum safety standards for vessels of 24-meters in length and over that are flagged with a signatory country. It will come into force 12 months after being ratified by at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels meeting the length requirements operating on the high seas. As of the time of this regional webinar, it has been ratified by 16 Parties.

Speakers at the webinar highlighted the numerous benefits of ratifying the Agreement, including the ability to create a level playing field, as Parties to the Agreement have the power to request any vessels fishing in their territorial waters to implement the same safety standards, i.e. no favourable treatment. Additionally, the Agreement also sets out provisions for harmonized inspections of the fishing fleet.

Irrespective of the size of their qualifying fishing fleet Member States were strongly urged to ratify the Agreement

Attending Member States were strongly urged to ratify the Agreement irrespective of the size of their qualifying fishing fleet (many fishing vessels can fall below the 24-meter length requirement), as being a Party to the Agreement would enable them to contribute to and shape the global discussion. Furthermore, countries could choose to use the wording of the Agreement as a template to create national regulation that would boost the safety for their fishing fleet as a whole.

Entry into force of the Agreement would give individuals in signatory Member States the means to  keep substandard players in check, but also to prevent the exploitation of ocean resources, IUU fishing and forced labour.

The webinar also offered a platform for knowledge sharing to overcome any challenges to implementation.

*The TCD region of Western Asia and Eastern Europe encompasses the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, North Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

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