European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
Fighting IUU fishing internationally
Press point / Brussels
15 November 2012
Today, the Commission adopted a Decision indicating to 8 third countries that their track record in tackling illegal fishing is insufficient. These countries are: Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu.
For the Commission, there are strong indications that these countries are not fulfilling their duties as flag, coastal, port or market States – duties that are laid down in international law, such as the provisions of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.
This opinion stems from a thorough analysis of each country's compliance that also took into account their level of development. With all these countries there are ongoing discussions since 2010.
The eight countries are now given an opportunity to formally respond, refute and take measures to rectify the situation. They are not blacklisted- they are rather being shown a "yellow card".
Today's decision does not entail any trade-affecting measures. It rather points out the countries' shortcomings and suggests corrective actions. We have proposed an action plan for each country. The Commission is initiating a procedure of dialogue and cooperation with an end to correct the situation. We will then assess each country's progress on an individual basis. The first progress report is expected within 6 months from now. Then we can examine the possibility of further measures.
The EU and the USA are currently the only ones in the world to undertake such a course of action. We are going to broaden this international alliance against illegal fishing. Illegal fishing counts the 19% of the whole catches worldwide. I hope other nations will follow suit: IUU is indeed prohibited by international rules. We are ready to cooperate with all other willing nations. This Decision sends the world a strong signal and confirms the EU's determination to put an end to this crime.
I think today's action is consistent with our proposals on CFP Reform and our wider renegotiation of Fisheries Partnership agreements. We have to put sustainability at the heart of our action both for fish caught in our waters and for fish caught in other waters.