Today, the European Commission announced its final decision to blacklist Belize, Cambodia and Guinea as non-cooperative countries under the EU IUU Regulation, for failing to cooperate and enforce rules against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The decision still requires validation by the Council, after which EU Member States will be bound to reject imports from these countries.
Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe has welcomed this important decision: “The EU’s use of this pioneer instrument to tackle IUU fishing worldwide, sends a clear message to countries that are not cooperating in the fight against this plague: a passive stance is not an option when it comes to these crimes.”
The Commission also announced that three more countries have been issued a yellow card: South Korea, Ghana and Curaçao. They join Panama, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu, pre-identified in November 2012, in the list of states undergoing a transitional period, during which time they must demonstrate that adequate measures are put in place to address IUU fishing in their waters or under their flag.
IUU fishing is plaguing the world oceans, and major fish importing nations like the United States, Japan and the EU are still permeable to the illegal and unsustainable products from this market. In 2008, the EU adopted a pioneer and powerful legal instrument, the so-called IUU Regulation, to close Europe’s markets to IUU fishing products, deter EU operators from involving themselves in IUU economic activities worldwide and EU vessels from engaging in such activities anywhere in the world. The regulation went into force in 2010.