EU warns Philippines and Papua New Guinea on illegal fishing practices but WWF calls for even greater action



Posted on 10 June 2014  
Illegal fishing leads to cod masssacre
© Paul Sunters / WWF-CanonEnlarge

Brussels, Belgium: WWF has today welcomed the European Commission’s warning to two fishing nations, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, to urgently address their non-compliance with international seafood traceability practices, control measures and management framework requirements to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing after repeated requests to comply over several years.

The warning from the EC has come in the form of a “yellow card” distributed under the legal framework of the European Union’s IUU Regulation, which now puts these nations on a provisional list of non-cooperating countries in the fight against illegal fishing [1]. Should the EC’s warning be further ignored, these countries may face a full seafood trade ban into the EU under a “red card” scenario [2].

“This is not an exercise in singling out nations but rather, an exercise in enforcing effective implementation of international fishing laws and regulations. There must be consequences for those who continually avoid playing by the rules. The yellow card as in football provides a last chance to play a fair game or otherwise get kicked off the pitch”, said Eszter Hidas, EU Policy Lead for WWF’s Transparent Seas Project.

WWF supports this initiative by the EU, highlighting its effectiveness in promoting on-the-ground improvements in fisheries management practices. The organisation, however, also states that as a leading market for seafood products, the EU needs to demonstrate greater leadership, together with key actors such as the United States and Japan.

“Eliminating the multi-billion euro business of IUU fishing worldwide needs a concerted and global effort. Leading seafood market states such as the EU, US and Japan must establish equally effective barriers to keep illegally caught fish out of their markets and thus jointly discourage illegal fishing activities worldwide”, said Hidas.

The US and Japan agreed common efforts with the EU to combat IUU fishing in September 2011 and July 2012 respectively, but little action has been seen from these key market states. WWF calls on the EU, US, Japan and other leading governments to initiate discussions towards a concrete action plan to jointly combat trade in IUU products at the US State Department’s Oceans Conference, to be held in Washington DC on 16 and 17 June 2014.

The EU is currently the only market state with a legal framework in place to impose seafood trade barriers. Evidence of positive impacts of the IUU Regulation are fast emerging, but a total block against the entry of IUU products is far from being achieved, with a highly unbalanced application of border control measures by EU Member States.

Note to the editors:

[1] IUU: The EU rules to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/illegal_fishing/index_en.htm
[2] The EU announced the first-ever seafood trade ban against illegal fishing nations in March 2014:
http://www.wwf.eu/what_we_do/natural_resources/fisheries/news_fisheries/?218251/EU-Council-announces-first-ever-seafood-trade-ban-against-illegal-fishing-nations

For further information:

Eszter Hidas

Policy Officer, Transparent Seas Project (Europe)
WWF European Policy Office
+32 2 761 0425
Ehidas@wwf.eu

Alba Málaga Homs
Communication and New Media Officer

WWF European Policy Office
+32 484 641060
Amalaga@wwf.eu


Source of the article

Illegal fishing leads to cod masssacre
© Paul Sunters / WWF-Canon Enlarge