Europe signs anti-illegal fishing deal with Japan –

Europe signs anti-illegal fishing deal with Japan Published:  24 July, 2012

THE European Union and Japan are going to co-operate to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, Maria Damanaki, Europe’s Fisheries Commissioner has disclosed.

To this end, in Tokyo last week she has signed a  joint statement with Akira Gunji,  Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Commissioner said: “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.”

In a keynote speech while in Japan Ms Damanaki told her hosts: “In the European Union, we are committed to meeting the challenges of oceans and fisheries in the best possible way. My principal objectives are to develop the potential of the European maritime economy and to secure a safe and stable supply of seafood – for Europeans today and for future generations.”

She added: “I say ‘Europeans’, but our efforts are, in fact, global. In this world we are all interlinked and any conservation policy makes little sense in isolation. For instance, when the tsunami hit Japan and the Fukushima plant was damaged, there was a risk that European consumers would stop buying fish out of fear of radioactive contamination. The economic damage could have been serious.”

She also believed that Japan and the EU could work much closer together of a number of fish related issues and she outlined her plans for reform of the European Common Fisheries Policy to a national that might not be aware of many of its fine details.

She said: “In recent years, Europe has been fishing far too much. One could say we have been squandering the ‘fish capital’ at our disposal. We have too many vessels and too powerful technology.  Too many fish are taken out of the water before they can reproduce; the remaining fish can only produce fewer offspring and so, year after year, the fish population starts going down.

“Fishermen realise they are catching less fish, so they resort to their potent technological means and intensify their effort to maintain their profits. And this is how the vicious circle of overfishing starts.  This is how we came to having more than two-thirds of the fish stocks overexploited in European seas.”