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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 

A global regime to create much-needed safety standards for fishing vessels has moved a significant step closer following the IMO-led international Ministerial Conference, organised in conjunction with Spain, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Nearly 50 States have signed the Torremolinos Declaration, publicly indicating their determination to ensure that the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety will enter into force by the tenth anniversary of its adoption (11 October 2022).

The Cape Town Agreement includes mandatory safety measures for fishing vessels of 24m in length and over. It covers key parameters such as 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 24m in length and over operating on the high seas, have expressed their consent to be bound by it. It is also seen as key tool in combating illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: "In 2019, with this conference, we now have a broader consensus on the urgent need for the Cape Town Agreement to enter into force, as a significant contribution to the long-term sustainability of the fishing industry."

The Cape Town Agreement, adopted in 2012, builds on the earlier treaties and will provide the global regime needed for safety of fishing vessels, alongside the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel, 1995 (1995 STCW-F Convention), which is already in force.

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