South Korea, Ghana, and Curaçao must now act quickly to combat illegal fishing, as the European Commission granted these three countries only six more months to improve efforts to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in their waters.
In 2013, the European Commission gave these three countries “yellow cards” to serve as a warning to either cooperate in stopping illegal and pirate fishing or risk facing trade sanctions. With this new time limit, the Commission adds even more pressure onto these countries to successfully combat IUU fishing.
The European Commission’s actions are a part of the EU IUU Regulation that aims to stop illegal and pirate fishing by denying access to valuable seafood markets to nations with IUU fishing. If a country is deemed non-cooperating by the European Commission, then they will receive a ‘red card’ and will no longer be allowed to export fish products to the EU or fish in EU waters.
The European Commission is supported by the Oceans 5 funders’ collaboration, a group of National Government Organizations working to protect the marine environment. Oceana is a part of this coalition, which also includes the Environmental Justice Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the World Wildlife Foundation.
“Today’s decision of the European Commission to give six more months to South Korea, Ghana, and Curaçao can only be accepted if their governments give concrete proofs of combating illegal fishing,” said Oceans 5 in a press release. “Real improvements will be measured not only by policies and regulations but by putting reforms into practice. The EU system of ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ cards and the consequent ban of import of seafood products from suspected countries are important steps in the global fight against illegal and pirate fishing.”
Since 2012, the EU has warned or given yellow cards to 13 countries. Guinea, Belize, and Cambodia are now among the countries designated as non-cooperating, receiving red cards earlier this year after not complying with warnings. Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Panama, Togo, Sri Lanka, Fiji, and Vanuatu are others countries that are currently working to avoid such rulings.