Fighting illegal fishing: Warnings for Kiribati, Sierra Leone and Trinidad & Tobago, while Sri Lanka is delisted

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Series Details IP/16/1457
Publication Date 21/04/2016
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The European Commission issued on 21 April 2016 a yellow card against Kiribati, Sierra Leone and Trinidad & Tobago, in the framework of the European Union's regime for fighting against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

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Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is seen by the European Union (EU) as one of the most serious threats to the sustainable exploitation of living aquatic resources. It is also deemed a major hazard to the marine environment, the sustainability of fish stocks and marine biodiversity. The Decision is based on the EU's so-called IUU Regulation. This is the key instrument in the fight against illegal fishing, ensuring that only fisheries products that have been certified as legal can access the EU market. A yellow card launches a dialogue between the European Union and the individual third countries for action in addressing shortcomings in fisheries governance. In absence of progress, a red card may be issued which introduces a ban on the importing of fisheries products.

Kiribati, Sierra Leone and Trinidad & Tobago were listed as uncooperative by the European Commission. The EU's warning to Kiribati is based on concerns about the country's capacity to control fishing activities by foreign fleets. In Sierra Leone legal texts governing fisheries are outdated and sanctions fail to deter illegal operators operating internationally under the flag of Sierra Leone, without the fisheries authorities' knowledge. In addition, the number of licensed vessels exceeds the available resources and authorities fail to monitor or control their waters. Trinidad and Tobago also has a large fleet operating internationally where authorities do not control or inspect foreign vessels, nor cooperate with relevant flag States. The poor traceability system also causes the risk of laundering of fisheries products.

Following a dialogue process with Sri Lanka, the country reformed its fisheries governance system. The country had been issued with a yellow card in 2012 and a red card in 2015.

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European Commission: Memo, 21/04/2016: Question and Answers on the EU's fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

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