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Illegal Fishing – EU issues warnings to Philippines and Papua New Guinea

(18/06/2014) The European Commission continues its action to fight illegal fishing worldwide by warning the Philippines and Papua New Guinea that they risk being identified as countries it considers non-cooperative in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The decision highlights that these countries are not doing enough to fight illegal fishing. It identifies concrete shortcomings, such as lack of system of sanctions to deter IUU activities or lack of actions to address deficiencies in monitoring, controlling and surveillance of fisheries. The decision does not, at this stage, entail any measures affecting trade. Both countries are being given a 'yellow card' warning and a reasonable time to respond and take measures to rectify the situation. The Commission has also proposed an action plan for each country to address the shortcomings. Should the situation not improve within six months, the EU could take further steps, which could entail trade sanctions on fisheries imports, as was done recently with Guinea, Belize and Cambodia (IP/14/304).

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "If half of the Western Pacific's tuna is exported to the EU, we cannot ignore illegal fishing activities in this region. I urge the Philippines and Papua New Guinea to fight this practice which puts the livelihoods of fishermen at risk. In the end, sustainability of fisheries in the Pacific Ocean means sustainability here in Europe, on our plates.”

The Commission considers that the Philippines and Papua New Guinea do not currently fulfil their duties as flag, coastal, port or market State in line with international law. For instance, the countries need to amend their legal framework to combat IUU fishing, improve control and monitoring actions and take a proactive role in complying with international law rules, such as the ones agreed by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

The decision is a result of a thorough analysis and also takes into account each country's level of development. The decision follows a long period of informal discussions with the countries in question since 2012. A formal procedure of dialogue with these countries to resolve the identified issues and implement the necessary action plans will now take place.

More:

Commission warns Philippines and Papua New Guinea over insufficient action to fight illegal fishing

Question and Answers on the EU's fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

Read also the article 'Illegal Fish? No, thanks' in 'Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe' magazine, no 63.