The European Union lifted a ban on fish exports from Guinea on Wednesday, after finding that the Western African country had successfully taken action against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally each year around the world, corresponding to at least 15 per cent of world catches or a value of around 10 billion euros (11.1 billion dollars) annually, according to the European Commission.
As the world‘s biggest importer of fisheries products, the EU has been cracking down on the issue, which depletes fish stocks.
In November 2012, the commission – the bloc‘s executive – warned Guinea over failures to cooperate in tackling IUU fishing. A year later, member states issued a “red card” due to inadequate action.
As a result, catch from vessels flying a Guinean flag could no longer be imported into the EU. The bloc‘s vessels were banned from fishing in the country‘s waters, while fisheries agreements with Guinea were also prohibited.
But several years of dialogue had produced results, the commission said Wednesday, noting that Guinea has revised its legal framework, stepped up sanctions, improved the monitoring of its fishing fleet and waters, and was now in compliance with international law.
EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella welcomed the outcome as “good news for sustainable fisheries around the globe,” noting that Guinea has “shown real commitment to fighting illegal fishing.”
The bloc still has a ban in place against Cambodia, while Thailand – the world‘s third largest seafood supplier – has been warned that the EU has serious concerns about its willingness to cooperate.
Similar warnings are also in place against Kiribati, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago, while the commission is in dialogue with the Comoros, Curacao, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, Taiwan and Tuvalu.