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WWF responds to illegal fishing warning

21 Nov 2012

WWF has responded to the warning issued last week by the European Commission to eight developing countries that they risk being identified as ‘non-cooperative’ in the fight against IUU fishing.

The countries in question are Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu.

WWF says it applauds the Commission for taking action as the warning includes some countries known to be IUU ‘hot spots’. 

However, the organisation says that the countries on the current EC warning list are among the smallest producers and exporters of wild-capture fish products, accounting all together for only 1.3% of total world marine production, according to official FAO figures. With IUU fishing estimated to account for approximately 20% of world fish catches, WWF says it is obvious that the EC list does not cover all of the worst IUU offenders or least ‘cooperative’ states. WWF also says that several EU member states have in the past been identified internationally as involved in significant IUU fishing, both in EU waters and beyond. 

David K Schorr, manager of fisheries governance at WWF Smart Fishing Initiative said: “WWF considers the fight against IUU fishing to be among the top priorities for conserving marine ecosystems and achieving the sustainable management of aquatic resources, therefore we applaud the European Commission for taking action. But we also regret that the list includes only the ‘small fish’.”