EC threatens to ban Thai seafood over illegal fishing

news
22 April 2015

The European Commission (EC) has issued a formal notice to Thailand for not taking sufficient measures against illegal fishing, further warning that inadequate action would lead to banning fisheries import from the country.

European commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said in a statement, ''I urge Thailand to join the European Union in the fight for sustainable fisheries. Failure to take strong action against illegal fishing will carry consequences.''

The EC, which has been pursuing discussions with Thai authorities since 2011, has concluded that the country is not doing enough to control illegal fishing.

The notice, known as yellow card, starts a formal dialogue with the country's authorities urging them to take corrective measures within six months. Solving the issues qualify for a green card, while a red card leads to a trade ban.

''Should the situation not improve, the EU could resort to banning fisheries imports from Thailand,'' the EC warned.

Simultaneously, the EC has stopped similar identification procedures with respect to two fishing nations - Korea and Philippines - that were commenced in 2013 and 2014, as the nations have revamped their management and legal systems to tackle illegal fishing.

"By using our market weight the EU is getting important players on board. Both Korea and the Philippines have taken responsible action, amended their legal systems and switched to a proactive approach against illegal fishing", Vella said.

The commission had taken similar measures against Belize, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Guinea in the past. Ban imposed last year on fisheries from Belize was revoked following the country's reforming efforts in the fishing regulations and controls. The ban on Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Guinea still persists.

Like Korea and Philippines, Fiji, Panama, Togo and Vanuatu got a green card, as they had solved the issues identified by the EC. Constructive dialogues are going on with several nations which were issued formal warnings to improve their fisheries management systems, the commission said.

EU as a bloc is the world's biggest fish importer and under its regulations access to the European market is allowed only if the fisheries products are certified legal by the concerned country from which they originate.

In case the States are unable to certify their products, then the EC initiates action to help the countries improve their legal frameworks.

According to the EC, about 15 per cent of world catches worth between 8-19 billion, is illegal.





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