Illegal fishing is a crime
Commissioner Maria Damanaki intervened at the seminar "Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing: is it a criminal activity?", organised by Struan Stevenson MEP, under the European Parliament Intergroup “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable development.”
"Illegal fishing is indeed a crime", she stated. "It harms us in many ways: it undermines our conservation efforts; it disturbs markets with unfair competition; it chokes the circle of compliance that we so keenly try to establish; it damages law-abiding fishermen, who will thus resent and lose faith in the system. And of course it destroys fish stocks."
Commissioner Damanaki praised the results obtained at EU level thanks to the adoption of the 2008 EU Regulation on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing: "This regulation is the blueprint for our zero tolerance policy against illegal fishing. (…) The whole point of the IUU Regulation is achieving zero-tolerance for IUU activities within and outside EU waters, including for EU nationals wherever they fish. So the EU can shut its doors to the trade of IUU fishery products".
Finally, the Commissioner outlined the paths for the way forward, pleading for a world-wide catch certification system and a simpler, greener and more regionalised policy, to have better control and compliance.