Fishing vessel involved in illegal fishing. The EC requires controls are strengthened in the region. (Photo: Neafc.org)
EU warning due to poor control of illegal fishing
Thursday, June 16, 2011, 03:40 (GMT + 9)
The Directorate General of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the European Commission (EC) admitted that the inclusion of Panama, Honduras, Belize and Togo in the list of "uncooperative countries" is being considered as part of the struggle against illegal fishing.
The monitoring and evaluation missions carried out by the EC in those countries found that the controls on the fishing sector are poor.
Therefore, the EC warned that their fishing imports will be blocked if they do not contribute to stop overfishing.
The possible inclusion in the list of non-cooperating countries could be completed in late September 2011.
Deputy Director General of Fishery Affairs of the European Union (EU), Jorge Sainz Elías, said that depending on the seriousness of the shortcomings of each nation, the EC could take "emergency measures", Padigital reported.
The EC's overall strategy to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing involves a series of measures to shield the economy from the fisheries sector, fisheries resources and marine environment.
One of these actions consists in limiting the access to the EU market for fishery products that respect the norms of each country.
During recent evaluations performed in Panama, it was found that the country has no control over the catch certificates and that sanction mechanisms against vessels engaged in IUU fishing are not effective.
Between 2009 and 2010, the Aquatic Resources Authority of Panama (ARAP) fined 14 vessels for illegal fishing in national waters, but none paid the penalty.
During these days a European technical mission is expected in Panama to help the fishing industry in the implementation and operation of a catch certification scheme, among other issues. The inspection protocols of illegal fishing, vessels monitoring and cargo at ports will also be supervised.
The EC said that does not mean that any sanctions should be suspended or withdrawn.
By Analia Murias