EU advisory councils recommend further action to fight IUU fishing

The European Union’s advisory councils on long distance fleet, markets, and the Mediterranean Sea have suggested new guidelines in an effort to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The E.U.’s Advisory Councils are stakeholder-led organizations that provide the European Commission and E.U. member states with recommendations on fisheries management issues. The councils are composed of representatives from industry, academic, and the nonprofit sector. There are currently 10 ACs established and one in the process of being created.

In its action from 9 June, the three councils adopted three new recommendations for improvement of the E.U. Regulation on IUU. The first is the adoption of computer software that will allow greater and easier sharing of information and intelligence between E.U. member states. 

“This will strengthen the alerts systems and mutual assistance between [member states], preventing potential non-compliant consignments entering into the E.U. market,” according to a joint statement provided by the advisory councils.

In addition, the councils recommended that the European Commission keep up-to-date lists of licensed vessels by third countries and that these be made publicly available. The council also asked for full disclosure of action plans provided to third countries when they are identified as non-cooperating countries.

Lastly, the councils  recommended  the development of more thorough check- and verify-catch certificates on the basis of a risk management approach.

“The fight against IUU fishing is a cornerstone of our work to achieve a level playing field amongst all fleet operators and processing industries commercializing their products into the E.U. market,” LDAC Chair Iván López, MAC Chair Guus Pastoor, and MEDAC Chair Giampaolo Buonfiglio said in a joint statement. “Ultimately, it is a question [of providing] full guarantees to the consumer that they are eating a fish that comes from operators which comply with the rules not only in terms of sustainability from an environmental perspective, but also from hygiene, social and labor standards, thus avoiding unfair competition and ensuring full traceability of the whole value chain.”


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