New York, NY (BBN)– Some 91 countries have agreed to the final text of a United Nations-brokered treaty aimed at combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) announced on Tuesday.

The first ever global pact, which intends to block illicit fish catches from entering international markets, focuses on ending such violations as fishing without a licence, using illegal gear, disregarding fishing seasons, catching prohibited or undersized species, and fishing in closed areas.

“By frustrating responsible management, IUU fishing damages the productivity of fisheries, or leads to their collapse,” FAO Assistant-Director General for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ichiro Nomura said in a statement.

The “Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing” commits countries to a number of measures to harden their ports against illegitimate fishers.

Foreign fishing boats will be required to request permission to dock from specially designated ports ahead of time, transmitting information on their activities and the fish they have on board.

The treaty also mandates regular inspections and outlines a set of standards that will be used during those inspections, including reviews of ship papers, surveys of fishing gear, examining catches and checking a ship’s records.

The treaty calls for information-sharing networks to allow communications to all national authorities about vessels that have been denied access to ports, and it contains provisions intended to assist resource-strapped developing countries meet their treaty obligations.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-02September09-10:24 am (BST)