At a Ministerial Conference held in Torremolinos, Spain, 48 states signed a public declaration to indicate their determination to ratify the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety. This is a significant regime to create much-needed safety standards for fishing vessels.
During the Torremolinos Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing (21-23 October), nearly 50 states signed the Torremolinos Declaration. By doing so they have publicly indicated their determination to make sure that the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety will enter into force by the tenth anniversary of its adoption, on 11 October 2022.
The Cape Town Agreement includes mandatory safety measures for fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over. It regards key parameters like stability and associated seaworthiness, machinery and electrical installations, life-saving appliances, communications equipment, fire protection and fishing vessel construction. Although adopted in 2012, it will only enter into force after at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over, have confirmed their consent to be bound by it.
In addition, Ministers and organizations alike highlighted the importance of the Cape Town Agreement for safety, for combating IUU fishing, and for the sustainable development of an industry which feeds millions of people.
Moreover, the states pledged to promote the Agreement, recognizing that the ultimate effectiveness of the instrument depends upon the widespread support of States, in their capacities as flag States, port States and coastal States. They also denounced the proliferation of IUU fishing, recognizing that international safety standards for fishing vessels will provide port States with a mandatory instrument to conduct safety inspections of fishing vessels, increasing control and transparency of fishing activities.
The Conference also adopted two resolutions:
Conference resolution 1 adopted the Torremolinos Statement on the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 and combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. The Statement pinpoints the importance of the Cape Town Agreement and the work on combating IUU fishing. It calls States to ratify the Cape Town Agreement, take actions to prevent deter and eliminate IUU fishing, and ratify and promote the STCW-F Convention on training of fishing vessel personnel. it also call FAO, ILO, IMO to cooperate in the fishing sector, and requests IMO to continue to provide technical assistance to States who request it in order to accede to and implement the Cape Town Agreement.
The second resolution expressed appreciation to Spain for hosting the conference.