IMO has completed a series of regional webinars aimed at increasing support for the 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA), which will bring in mandatory safety requirements for fishing vessels when it enters into force. The most recent webinar, the seventh in the series*, was held on 27 January, 2022 and catered to stakeholders in Europe (EU/EEA countries). The event was co-hosted by the Government of France.
Representatives of 24 IMO Member States who participated in the webinar endorsed a statement to promote the ratification and implementation of the Cape Town Agreement, urge countries to become parties to the Agreement, encourage action to fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and promote better labour conditions. A reference to Article 2(e) of the IMO Convention has been included in the statement emphasizing IMO’s mandate to facilitate as necessary, technical cooperation for the benefit of Member States in need.
The 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. The last IMO Member State to accede to the CTA was Peru (02 March, 2021), bringing the number of Member States that are party to this agreement to 16.
The regional webinar series, held from November 2020 to January 2022, was organized in conjunction with interested Member States, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The webinars provided a platform for decision-makers from maritime administrations and fishery authorities to gain insight into the Agreement and share lessons learned from States that have already ratified the Cape Town Agreement or are currently in the process of doing so.
A number of countries that participated in the webinars, including Croatia and Peru, have now ratified the agreement – and others, such as Kenya and Portugal, have reiterated their intention to do so prior to the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Agreement, on 11 October, 2022. “The internal ratification procedures of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement have already started,” the Portuguese representative said. “The procedures for the ratification are expected to be completed during this semester.”
IMO’s Maritime Safety Division, in cooperation with the Technical Cooperation Division, are considering further avenues, including national webinars and workshops, to continue increasing support for the CTA.
The webinar was opened by IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim and France’s Minister of the Sea H.E. Annick Girardin.