Commission warns Philippines and Papua New Guinea over illegal fishing

10 Jun 2014
The Philippines and Papua New Guinea have been given a yellow card by the EC. Credit: Ramon FVelasquez/CC BY-SA 3.0

The Philippines and Papua New Guinea have been given a yellow card by the EC. Credit: Ramon FVelasquez/CC BY-SA 3.0

The European Commission has warned the Philippines and Papua New Guinea that they risk being identified as non-cooperative countries in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

This means that these countries are not doing enough to fight illegal fishing.

Both countries are being given a 'yellow card' and a reasonable time to respond and take measures to rectify the situation – no measures affecting trade will be implemented against the Philippines and Papua New Guinea at this stage.  However, the Commission has proposed an action plan for each country to address these shortcomings, and if the situation does not improve within six months the EU could implement trade sanctions on fisheries imports, as was done recently with Guinea, Belize and Cambodia.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "If half of the Western Pacific's tuna is exported to the EU, we cannot ignore illegal fishing activities in this region. I urge the Philippines and Papua New Guinea to fight this practice which puts the livelihoods of fishermen at risk. In the end, sustainability of fisheries in the Pacific Ocean means sustainability here in Europe, on our plates.”

According to the Commission, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea do not currently fulfil their duties as flag, coastal, port or market States in line with international law. For instance, the countries need to amend their legal framework to combat IUU fishing, improve control and monitoring actions and take a proactive role in complying with international law rules, such as the ones agreed by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

The decision follows a long period of informal discussions with the countries in question since 2012, and is a result of a thorough analysis which also takes into account each country's level of development. A formal procedure of dialogue with these countries to resolve the identified issues and implement the necessary action plans will now take place.

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