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EU Proposes Trade Measures to Protect Against Illegal Fishing

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The European Commission announced Oct. 14 a proposed ban on imports of fishery products from Sri Lanka, which has not been able to demonstrate that it has sufficiently addressed illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The Commission also proposed to ease measures against five other countries that have made progress on this issue. The EU actions come as the United States is also ramping up its efforts to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

According to a Commission assessment, Sri Lanka has not sufficiently addressed the shortcomings in its fisheries control system that were identified in November 2012, which include weaknesses in the implementation of control measures, a lack of deterrent sanctions for the high seas fleet, and noncompliance with international and regional fisheries rules. As a result, the Commission has proposed a ban on imports into the EU of fisheries products caught by vessels flagged in Sri Lanka, which would take effect in mid-January 2015.

On the other hand, the Commission has proposed to recognize Belize’s commitment to reforming its legal framework and adopting a new set of rules for vessel inspection, control and monitoring by ending the ban on fishery product imports from that country, which was imposed this past March, and removing Belize from the list of non-cooperating third countries in the fight against IUU fishing. The Commission has also announced the termination of steps against Fiji, Panama, Togo and Vanuatu, all of which received a formal warning in November 2012, because they have taken concrete measures to eradicate IUU fishing in their waters or by their fleets.

Finally, the Commission has extended until January 2015 its work with Korea, Curacao and Ghana, which have seen some progress since receiving formal warnings in November 2013 but need more time to make changes.

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