EU - After the European Commission had warned three countries - Curaçao, Ghana and Korea - that they were not doing enough to fight illegal fishing in November 2013, it will now grant each country an extra six months to improve the situation.
The Commission will review their progress made at the end of this period.
The Commission had found a number of specific problems in the countries’ legislative set up, which came short of efficient control or deterring sanctions. The warning issued in November 2013 did not entail any direct trade measures, but each nation was proposed a tailored action plan and six months to redress the situation.
They were warned that should they fail to do so, the EU might resort to banning all fisheries imports from the countries. A similar measure was taken earlier this year for Guinea, Belize and Cambodia.
The Commission considers that Curaçao, Ghana and Korea have all made credible progress towards complying with their obligations as flag, coastal, port or market States. They are updating their legal framework to include the fight against illegal fishing, improving their control and monitoring systems and taking a proactive role vis-à-vis international law and rules of the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.
Clearly, however, the adoption and implementation of new rules take time.
This extension is the result of collaborative work between the Commission and the countries in question. Since the warning the Commission has kept the dialogue open, offered assistance and performed thorough analysis. This is part and parcel of the EU’s relentless effort to eradicate illegal fishing worldwide.
Last month, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South Korea to support new initiatives to combat IUU, with a special focus on introducing new, effective mechanisms for vessel monitoring and other key flag State obligations.
Under this MoU, EJF has already presented the Korean Government with clear evidence of ongoing illegal fishing in both West and East Africa. Korean authorities are currently investigating these cases.
EJF Executive Director, Steve Trent, commented on the announcement, saying: “This announcement means that the three countries are showing early signs of combating IUU fishing, and that is encouraging. However, there is still more to be done. In recent months, EJF has provided evidence of IUU fishing in both West and East Africa to Korea. It is now their responsibility as a flag State to rapidly investigate their infractions and place firm sanctions that will ensure that they never again devastate the livelihoods and food security of some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. We stand ready to support that process.
"The EU system of ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ cards is an important tool in the global fight against IUU fishing. Combined with the development of Global Record of fishing vessels and the introduction of better port State controls, the process has the prospect of bringing about a fundamental shift in the sustainability of global fisheries.”
TheFishSite News Desk
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