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Illegal fishing vessel. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Huge investment to fight illegal fishing

EUROPEAN UNION
Tuesday, February 04, 2014, 01:10 (GMT + 9)

From 2010 to date, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) of the European Union (EU) made 230 controls to combat illegal fishing in all Member States.

According to the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, during these four years were spent EUR 185.2 million in technology and 12,000 boats were equipped to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Under the title Illegal fish? No, thanks, the European Commission (EC) in a recent publication highlights all the work carried out since 2010, date in which Maria Damanaki became the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the EU.

"Four years ago the EU resolved to wage war on illegal fishing both at home and abroad," the article begins.

"At home, it harmonised rules, inspections and sanctions. [...] For the rest of the world, it shut its own market to fish of dubious origin and warns of possible economic retaliation those nations who turn a blind eye to unlawful practices at sea," the text added.

The costs claimed by the fight against IUU fishing during these four years are divided between:

  • Vessel Monitoring System or VMS (EUR 16 million);
  • Electronic records and reporting systems or ERS (EUR 21.3 million);
  • New technologies and computer networks (EUR 108 million);
  • Equipping boats with ERS (EUR 33 million);
  • Several pilot projects (EUR 1.5 million);
  • Training costs and initiatives to raise awareness of the new Common Fisheries Policy (EUR 1.7 million);
  • Ships and aircraft (EUR 3.7 million).

Meanwhile, an investment of around EUR 150 million is expected for 2014 to acquire new patrol vessels or aircrafts, and train more staff to be responsible for the compliance of the fisheries law.

The new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will also support with EUR 480 million current operations and will fund innovative techniques such as DNA analysis to detect the exact strain of a lot and its point of origin.

At the same time, the new rules, which came into force on 1 January, as part of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, are aimed at putting an end to fish discards and overfishing.

"And thus the process guaranteeing a rational, responsible use of fish resources by all will be complete," the article stresses.

While Damanaki explained: "Now that the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is on track my priority goes back to fisheries control and enforcement."

On the other hand, an EU delegation travelled to Dakar to revive relations with Senegal and collaborate in the fight against illegal fishing.

In this sense, the EU ensured its support to the African country to improve its ability to control and surveillance, and to materialize fisheries research.

Related article:

- Damanaki insists in ‘zero tolerance’ as to illegal fishing

By Analia Murias
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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