Fight against illegal catching gaining ground –

Fight against illegal catching gaining ground Published:  26 June, 2007

Joe Borg

EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said today that the North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers’ Conference had shown the value of international cooperation in the fight against illegal fishing

He said : “The tangible progress achieved in the past year against illegal fishing in the North Atlantic is very encouraging. As highlighted at the North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers Conference, such progress is due to stronger international cooperation by all the Parties concerned. This must spur all of us on to intensify our efforts to prevent those engaged in illegal fishing from making money out of their fraudulent catches. Only then will the fight against this harmful form of crime be won.”

Dr Borg, was reacting to the outcome of the 12th North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers’ Conference which was held in Narsaq, Greenland, last week.

The Conference noted that the measures taken to deny access to port to vessels listed as engaging in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing had led to the scrapping of a number of them. It welcomed the recent strengthening of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) port control scheme against landings from such vessels. On May 1, NEAFC contracting parties began to enforce the groundbreaking port state control system which makes the landing of frozen fish in an EU port impossible unless the vessel concerned has the necessary clearance from its flag state. Multilateral cooperation in this sphere, says the European Commission, is closing ports to illegally caught fisheries products not only on the two sides of the north Atlantic but also in North Africa, Japan and Korea.

The Conference agreed on stepping up action in several areas. Thus, measures will be taken to also combat ‘grey fishing’ which covers violations to the rules by vessels holding the necessary licences and permits to fish. Such practices, too, must be brought to an end in any successful drive against illegal fishing practices. Ministers also agreed to strengthen Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and to ensure that their nationals apply the measures adopted in such organisations. They will also support the initiative by the FAO to assess the performance of flag states in ensuring the proper application of existing measures by vessels on their registers and the setting of minimum standards for port state measures against illegal fishing. Ministers agreed that an analysis of the IUU supply chain should be undertaken in order to examine the economics of IUU fishing operations and identify the key actors so as to assist enforcement authorities in disrupting these criminal networks. Standardised traceability systems for fish products will be developed and collaborative action will be taken to disrupt the IUU networks. Ministers also welcomed the project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers to examine the economic incentives for IUU fishing.

In the autumn, the European Commission will propose a whole set of measures designed to step up the EU’s fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.