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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
EU norms on seafood to increase India’s exports
Kochi - Curbing of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) by the European Union (EU) is projected to help improve catch along the Indian coast substantially, sources said.
With EU insisting on catch certificates for all fish materials imported into the union from January 2010, illegal trawling in the India’s exclusive economic zone ought to decrease. Fishing community in India has also been complaining of large scale illegal trawling by foreign vessels, particularly during the time of monsoon when mechanised fishing is banned along the coast, Anwar Hashim, national president of Seafood Exporters Association of India told FE.
This could also help in stopping the destruction of endangered species like the Olive Ridley turtles of Orissa, which are killed in thousands by the illegal trawlers in Orissa.
Illegal fishing takes place where vessels operate in violation of the laws of a nation or a regional grouping. Unreported fishing is fishing that has been unreported or misreported to the relevant national authority or regional organisation, in contravention of applicable laws and regulations. Unregulated fishing generally refers to fishing by vessels without nationality, or vessels flying the flag of a country not party to the regional organisation governing that fishing area or species.
Most obviously, pirate fishers have a strong economic incentive. Many species of fish, particularly those which have been over-exploited and are thus in short supply fetch high value. EU reports that IUU practices amount to 10 billion euro a year, representing 19% of the worldwide reported value of catches and over 50% of the catches from sub-Saharan African countries. IUU fishing also represents a major hazard to the marine environment, the sustainability of fish stocks and marine biodiversity.
Implementing traceability and issuing catch certificate calls for identification of fishing region, time of catch and the fishing boat and the harbour where fish was landed. Some exporters are worried that it might develop as a non-tariff barrier on Indian seafood. Hashim is against any delaying tactics as he feels that it would do more harm. “There is no escape from the traceability process. In time, all countries and retail chains would insist on it. The faster we comply, the more we gain,” he said. Non-compliance of the law will stop all exports to the EU which is the largest market for Indian seafood accounting for 25% of the volume and 33% of the total value of exports, he added.
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Political processes/EU Action Plan