22nd Oct 2016

EU bans fish imports from Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea

  • Between 11 to 26 million tonnes of fish are caught using illegal practices every year (Photo: EUobserver)

Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea are banned from selling fish to the EU.

The blacklist, first proposed by the European Commission and then rubber stamped by the member states on Monday (24 March), is a first for the EU under its illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing regulation from 2010.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“I want EU citizens to know that the fish they consume is sustainable, wherever it comes from. We are steadily moving in that direction,” said EU fishery commissioner Maria Damanaki in a statement.

The ban was imposed because they do not comply with international fishery laws. The laws set out rules to prevent illegal fishing practices.

At €10 million annually, the value of their exports to the EU is relatively low, but NGOs say it sends a strong signal to other larger fishing countries on the commission’s warning list.

“These are not the major importers of fish to the EU,” Marta Marrero at the Brussels-based The Pew Charitable Trusts told this website.

The EU imports some 65 percent of the fish it consumes.

South Korea and Ghana figure among the larger EU exporters. Both, including the small Caribbean island of Curacao, are now on the commission’s radar and face possible sanctions.

All three were issued warnings last November to step up standards to meet international fishing laws or risk import bans.

For its part, South Korea last year imported around €75 million to the EU while Ghana’s shipped around €113 million worth of fish.

Other nations like Fiji, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Vanuatu were warned two years ago. All five are said to be making progress in their fishing practices.

NGOs praised the decision on Monday as historic but warn a loophole in the regulation means non-EU vessels fishing in the banned countries’ waters can still export their catches to member states.

EU vessels cannot operate in their waters while boats flying the Belize, Cambodia, or Guinea cannot export to the EU.

But vessels flying flags from other non-EU countries, which fish in Belize, Cambodia, or Guinea, can still sell their catches.

Despite the loophole, EJF’s executive director Steve Trent applauded the EU for taking the decision.

“Whilst it is not perfect, the EU IUU Regulation is clearly the world’s leading piece of legislation in this field,” he said in a statement.

He noted that coastal communities in West Africa, for instance, are seeing the benefits of the EU’s action towards offending vessels and flag states.


A world without waste

A garbage crisis in Naples, Italy, gave birth to the "zero waste" movement, but is the rest of Europe brave enough to change the way it thinks about trash?

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity