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INSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable Fish

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The fight against illegal fishing was a key topic of conversation at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) last week, with FAO's Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (COFI) celebrating the entry into force of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) at its meeting in Rome on 11-15 July.
The Commission has proposed to lift the "red card" and the associated trade measures for fisheries products from the Republic of Guinea, following significant improvements to its national fisheries governance to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The 16th Session of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) was held in Gosier (Guadeloupe, France) from 20-24 June 2016. It was attended by representatives from 28 member countries, including the European Commission for the European Union, as well as observers from sub-regional fisheries organisations, cooperation agencies and civil society.

Illegal fishing (IUU)

The EU rules to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
Vessel fishing illegally for Patagonian toothfish in waters south of Australia, being inspected by the Australian navy.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) depletes fish stocks, destroys marine habitats, distorts competition, puts honest fishers at an unfair disadvantage, and weakens costal communities, particularly in developing countries.
The EU is working to close the loopholes that allow illegal operators to profit from their activities:

  • The EU Regulation to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) entered into force on 1 January 2010. The Commission is working actively with all stakeholders to ensure coherent application of the IUU Regulation.
  • Only marine fisheries products validated as legal by the competent flag state or exporting state can be imported to or exported from the EU.
  • An IUU vessel list is issued regularly, based on IUU vessels identified by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.
  • The IUU Regulation also offers the possibility to blacklist states that turn a blind eye to illegal fishing activities.
  • EU operators who fish illegally anywhere in the world, under any flag, face substantial penalties proportionate to the economic value of their catch, which deprive them of any profit.

Legal basis

Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU Regulation)

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1010/2009 of 22 October 2009 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008

Commission Statements pdf - 48 KB [48 KB] of 18 September 2008

Secondary legislation, guidance and other information

Secondary legislation, guidance and other information