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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Four ACP countries warned over illegal fishing

As part of the continued fight against illegal fishing worldwide, the European Commission (EC) has today warned the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines that they risk being identified as non-cooperating countries. The move is part of the EU's drive for a sustainable use of the sea and its resources. Illegal fishing is not only a criminal activity but it also jeopardises the livelihood of fishing communities and depletes fish stocks. European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “Today's decision is about the four countries needing to step up their efforts in fighting illegal fishing. I am convinced that they will all commit to this cooperative approach since sustainable development in Small Island States relies on sustainable fishing. We will work with them to make that happen and we will continue to prioritise sustainability in waters at home and abroad". The four countries are issued with a 'yellow card' warning and now have a reasonable time to respond and take measures to rectify the situation.

To help them achieve that, the Commission has also proposed a set of measures for each country to address their shortcomings. The decision does not, at this stage, entail any measures affecting trade. However, should the situation not improve within six months, the EU could take further steps which could entail, among others, trade sanctions on fisheries imports, as was recently the case with Sri Lanka. The decision is a result of a thorough analysis of the situation on the ground and also takes into account each country's level of development. A formal dialogue with these countries to resolve the identified issues and implement the necessary measures will now take place. As the world's biggest fish importer, the EU aims at closing its markets to illegally caught fish. With these actions vis-à-vis third countries, the EU ensures a systematic approach in favour of the sustainability of fishing activities at both EU and global level. The estimated global value of IUU fishing is approximately EUR 10 billion per year. Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally a year, which corresponds to at least 15 per cent of world catches.

Source: fis.com