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Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki stated three countries will be deemed 'uncooperative' in the struggle against IUU fishing. (Photo Credit: EJF)

Damanaki insists in ‘zero tolerance’ as to illegal fishing

EUROPEAN UNION
Friday, November 08, 2013, 03:50 (GMT + 9)

The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries claims that while some of the eight countries that were requested to meet their international obligations as to illegal unreported unregulated fisheries (IUU) have made ‘credible progress’, others have not responded in the same way.

In a speech made at an event hosted in Brussels by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Commissioner Maria Damanaki highlighted that from the eight countries those addressing these concerns are Fiji, Togo, Sri Lanka, Panama and Vanuatu, with whom EU authorities initiated a formal dialogue and to whom an action plan was devised according to their specific problems.

However, she remarked that Belize, Cambodia and Guinea “have not addressed concerns linked to legislation, effective monitoring and surveillance systems, nor have they introduced satisfactory sanctioning regimes.”

Therefore, Damanaki, who stresses that the IUU regulations sought for goods affecting the EU territory are those that have been adopted by the United Nations (UN) and the Food and Agriculture Organization- Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (FAO), points out the only choice left is to propose the Council to identify those countries as “uncooperative in the fight against IUU fishing.”

In practice, the Commissioner remarked, the Commission Decision will encourage Member States to investigate methodically fishery products coming from these countries. And she stressed that while EU vessels will not be allowed to fish in waters of those countries, products caught by their vessels will be banned from entering the EU market. Besides, the settlement of bilateral fisheries agreements or partnerships with any of these countries will not be authorized.

On the other hand, the Commissioner stated that other countries like Indonesia are improving their management system and she also expressed satisfaction about Seychelles' authorities for their cooperation on the regional plan established by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to upgrade control and monitor activities, stressing this represents evidence that cooperation against illegal fisheries continues, since the Commission’s preferred way of solving issues is through cooperation.

Damanaki also welcomed the collaboration the Commission received from the EJF as well as from NGOs in its struggle against “present-day pirates,” through which it was possible to launch investigations and alert Member States of alleged illegal imports reaching the EU borders.

The Commissioner pointed out that Member States have used the mutual assistance system coordinated by the Commission to improve control in ports – such as the case of the Spanish ports of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands -- and perform focused risk analysis on catch certificates.

She ended her speech by requesting the support of the European Parliament and its Fisheries Committee, the help of "the courageous fisheries ministers," the assistance of the industry and of civil society to achieve together sustainable fisheries for the current generation of EU citizens and by stating their aim reaching the "zero tolerance" rule.
 

 
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