GLOBAL - The World Trade Organisation has called for international cooperation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The WTO said that all efforts to beat the IUU problem had to be carried out without discrimination and with transparency.
A meeting of the WTO’s Committee on Trade and Environment last week heard from delegations from 10 countries about how they were tackling the problems.
And the WTO has urged member countries to ensure that they are all aligned to international commitments within their own domestic strategies for tackling the problem.
The US said that it was addressing the issue through regional trade agreements and through the WTO negotiations.
The US added that it has plans to finalise rules for a traceability programme by August 2016, which will identify species of fish that are at risk of illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing and it will also cover aspects of seafood fraud.
The Ecuador delegates, who stressed the importance of fishing to the country’s economy, said that it was pursuing both regional and international strategies and Mexico said that it was tackling the problem through vessel registration, satellite monitoring and on-board observation.
The Mexican delegates at the meeting added that both regional and multilateral cooperation was the best way to reinforce efforts to combat IUU fishing.
The EU stressed the importance of traceability in the whole supply chain and added that measure taken need to be both fair and transparent.
The EU also called for help for developing countries to comply with international codes.
The committee also heard that similar action is also being taken by the Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Norway, Taipei, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia.
The Philippines called on the US at the meeting to consider the interests of exporters in developing countries and the difficulties of tracing shipments that have been exported, putting them at a disadvantage to locally produced products.
Haiti, speaking on behalf of the Least Developed Countries, called for multilateral commitments rather than individual domestic initiatives, which it said could create trade barriers.
New Zealand said that any anti-IUU measures need to be consistent with the WTO commitments and they should also be allowed to have a national treatment to fit individual country’s needs.
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