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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
New tools adopted in illegal fishing fight
The European Commission (EC) adopted a regulation establishing the implementing rules to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This norm had been approved in 2008 by the European Union (EU) ministers.
As from 2010, the new regulation will control all landings and transhipments of third-countries in Community ports and set up a catch certification scheme to ensure that all marine fishery products are obtained legally.
In addition, it introduces a Community alert system to detect the “most suspect” cases of illegal practices, the vessels involved and any non-cooperating third-party nations in this scope.
It also includes a system of sanctions for fishers or operators who commit serious infringements.
According to European Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg, as from 2010 these new norms “will help those fishermen that play by the rules and will ensure a better control and enforcement of management and conservation rules.”
The new norm complements the regulation passed by the EU fisheries ministers some days ago to reinforce controls of fishers and shipowners.
The above-mentioned regulation anticipates, among other measures, the implementation of a 'membership points card’ system for fishers and shipowners that would go into effect in 2011. The new methodology establishes that the fisher who fails to comply with laws in effect will accumulate points, which once accrued could lead to the revocation of the fishing licence.
The EC estimates that the European market trades 10 per cent of the fish caught globally in violation of fisheries laws.
According to the EC, in terms of fish imports - valued at approximately 500,000 tonnes of fisheries products annually - illegal fishing generates EUR 1.1 billion, and is equivalent to 45,000 tonnes.
"Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is currently one of the most serious threats to the sustainable exploitation of marine resources. It jeopardises the marine environment, the sustainability of fish stocks and marine biodiversity,” Borg contended.
“Illegal fishing practices are simply intolerable, and we need to eradicate them inside and outside the EU market,” he added.
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Political processes/EU Action Plan