Today, the European Commission identified eight third-countries failing to fulfill their duties to fight Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing (IUU). Their decision grants Belize, Panama, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu, six months to address the European Union’s concerns. If they fail to respond adequately, a series of measures will be implemented, including the prohibition of imports of fishery products stemming from these countries into the EU. Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe issued the following statement:
“Today, the Commission took a big step in the fight against IUU fishing by shouting out loud and clear that it is not afraid to take measures against lenient third countries. We welcome this long-awaited decision and trust that the Commission will maintain its determination throughout the next steps of this procedure”.
The IUU regulation (Regulation (EC) 1005/2008) which aims at preventing illegally caught fish from entering into the EU market, came into force in 2010 and puts in place a number of mechanisms including a catch documentation scheme for third country fishery products, as well as the establishment of a list of non-cooperating countries and of vessels involved in IUU fishing. It is estimated that IUU fishing accounts for 19% of the entire worldwide catch and amounts to 10 billion euros a year.