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Commissioner Maria Damanaki and minister Akira Gunji after signing the agreement to fight IUU. (Photo: EC)

EU, Japan team up to fight IUU fishing

Click on the flag for more information about Japan JAPAN
Friday, July 13, 2012, 03:40 (GMT + 9)

The European Union (EU) and Japan are going to cooperate to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. A Joint Statement to this end was recently signed in Tokyo by Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Akira Gunji, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.

The EU and Japan rank first and second, respectively, as the world’s top seafood importers. They have now agreed that the seafood they import will not be caught illegally.

Globally, IUU fishing deprives honest fishermen and coastal communities of up to USD 23 billion worth of seafood and seafood products annually. IUU fishing also threatens sustainability of fish stocks.

With this agreement the EU and Japan commit themselves to work together on the most effective tools to combat illegal fishing. As parties to regional fishery management organisations and to various international treaties, they will work towards strengthening monitoring and enforcement of management measures.

They will also use the available means to prevent IUU operators from profiting from their illegal activities.

More specifically, the agreement commits its parties to:

  • Systematically exchange information on IUU activities;
  • Promote, in regional fishery management organisations they belong to, management measures that strengthen control, monitoring and enforcement on vessels operating within a given areas;
  • Encourage other countries to ratify and implement the Port State Measures Agreement of the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Committee on Fisheries;
  • Promote the sustainable use of fisheries resources while preserving marine biodiversity.

A similar statement was signed by the EU and the US in September last year.

"Illegal fishing is a criminal activity. Europe is committed to fight it and we have been building alliances worldwide,” said Damanaki. “Today's [11 July] agreement with Japan will help us enforce the rules, and it moves us closer to clearing our seas of dishonest fishermen."

The EU and Japan have already put in place a number of legal measures to combat IUU fishing, such as the EU's IUU Regulation. Both are active in international fishery management organisations and promote international instruments to address IUU fishing.

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Photo Courtesy of FIS Member  European Commission - Fisheries and Maritime Affairs
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