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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 EU and Canada today signed a Joint Declaration on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, sending a strong message of zero tolerance towards such criminal activities. The declaration was signed by Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, and the Canadian Minister of Fisheries Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Hunter Tootoo.
Many Mediterranean fish stocks are in a worrying state, with alarming consequences for income and jobs in the Mediterranean fishing sector. To highlight the need for action, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella, yesterday launched the campaign #MedFish4Ever. More than 80 representatives from EU institutions, European regions, business, and NGOs gathered at the European Commission stand at the Seafood Global Expo in Brussels for the launch event.
Concerned with the steep decline of fish stocks in the Mediterranean, on 27 April Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella hosted a high level Ministerial meeting with fisheries ministers from countries bordering the Mediterranean. Nineteen out of twenty-two riparian countries were represented, as well as GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean), FAO and MEDAC (Mediterranean Advisory Council).

Illegal fishing: blocking access to the EU market

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Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is thriving throughout the world. According to estimates, this global commerce is worth 3 to 10 billion euros per year. As a comparison, legal landings by the EU fleet reached 6.8 billion euros in 2004.

The scope of marine poaching and its environmental, economic and social impact make it an international priority. Illegal fishing depletes world stocks and compromises the protective measures implemented to ensure their sustainability. Furthermore, by targeting the national waters of developing countries which do not have the means to patrol them effectively, illegal fishing robs these underprivileged populations of an essential food source.

In order to fight this plague, the European Commission has proposed to deprive illegal fishing of its commercial outlets in the European Union, which is the leading world importer of fishing products. This strategy would involve, in particular, widespread State-based port control, which forces each State to ensure that the fishing products they import are legal. In other words, all fish, molluscs and crustaceans (including processed products) entering the European Union will have to be certified by the flag State of the vessel which caught them. Vessels whose flag State does not certify the products on board will not be able to access European ports.