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Thursday, 15 November 2012

EU warns eight countries over insufficient action to fight illegal fishing

The European Commission adopted on 15 Novemeber a Decision indicating to 8 third countries that their track record in tackling illegal fishing is insufficient, and that they risk being identified as countries it considers non-cooperative in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. These countries are: Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu.
Today's decision is the first of its kind and it highlights that these countries are not doing enough to fight illegal fishing. It identifies concrete shortcomings as not fulfilling duties as flag, coastal, port or market States – duties that are laid down in international law, such as the provisions of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.
The decision does not entail any trade-affecting measures. The Commission has proposed an action plan for the remediation of the situation in each country. Should the situation not improve, the EU could take further steps, which could entail trade measures such as a ban on selling fisheries products to the EU.
European Commissioner Maria Damanaki, in charge of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "This is not a black list, but a yellow card. We want these countries as partners to combat illegal fishing. But we also want to signal to the world that the EU will not tolerate IUU fishing - a criminal activity which undermines the livelihood of fishing communities and depletes fish stocks. It must be eradicated by all means."
The fight against illegal fishing is part of the EU drive to ensure the sustainable use of the sea and its resources. As the world's biggest fish importer the EU aims to close its markets to illegally caught fish. The estimated global value of IUU fishing is approximately 10 billion Euros per year, and it is said to account for 19% of the reported value of catches.

Source: European Commission