PHILIPPINES - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is working on meeting the standards of the European Union on fishing, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“The Philippines, led by BFAR, is working actively to comply with EU’s requirements,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a press briefing.
The EU warned of trade sanctions against the Philippines if it fails to curb what it calls illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
“This is not a blacklist, but a yellow card,” European Commissioner Maria Damanaki, in charge of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said in a statement Tuesday, referring to the football warning sign.
“We want the Philippines as partner to combat illegal fishing. We want the country to improve its legal and control systems as required by international rules. 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,” she said.
Eight other countries were previously warned also to curb IUU fishing: Panama, Togo, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu and Fiji in November 2012, and Curaçao, Korea and Ghana in November 2013.
A ban on imports of fish from Guinea, Cambodia, and Belize was imposed in March 2014.
EU estimates that the global value of IUU fishing is approximately 10 billion euros per year and said that between 11 and 26 million tons of fish are caught illegally every year, which corresponds to at least 15 per cent of world catches.
The Philippines exported €170 million worth of fish in 2013 to the EU.
TheFishSite News Desk