March 2014: On 24 March the EU Fisheries Council announced that EU member states
are required to ban the import of fish from Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea in an act
that demonstrates Europe is serious in its fight against illegal fishing.
The decision follows a round of ‘yellow cards’ issued as a warning
by the European Commission to eight countries in November 2012. Fiji, Panama, Sri Lanka,
Tongo, Vanuatu, Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea were all found to have inadequate monitoring
of their fishing fleets. They were also found to have neglected to impose sanctions on illegal fishing,
and had failed to develop robust fisheries laws. By 2013, the Commission announced that all countries
but Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea had made sufficient improvements in the fight against Illegal,
Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
As a result, the decision by the EU Fisheries Council dictates that – under the EU IUU Regulation –
EU member states must embargo seafood from these countries, and ensure their fishing vessels
do not operate in the waters of these nations. The ban was approved by the EU’s 28 fisheries ministers.
The Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and WWF have applauded
the actions by the EU Fisheries Council in the fight against IUU fishing. Speaking on the Regulation,
Eszter Hidas, EU Policy Lead for WWF's Transparent Seas Project said: "WWF supports the EU's efforts
to impose sanctions where necessary to ensure that marine ecosystems and livelihoods
are not damaged by illegal and irresponsible fishing practices. There must be consequences
for persistent inaction after repeated warnings. We expect that Belize, Cambodia and Guinea
will now take immediate action to impose effective fishing regulations.”
In November 2013, the European Commission highlighted that Curacao, Ghana, and South Korea
could also face a trade embargo on seafood if they don’t increase their efforts to cooperate against IUU fishing.
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