French retailers, companies guided on avoiding illegal fishing

NGOs Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), SeaWeb Europe and WWF-France have issued a joint advisory note in collaboration with retailer Carrefour to inform French industry, retailers and brands of the risks associated with illegal fishing.

Following the positive acceptance of a similar guide issued to the U.K. supply chain last year, the French adaptation offers expert advice on source risk assessment and mitigation, and encourages action to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishery products entering French supply chains.

Presented in Paris, France, the new advisory sets out key recommendations, including:

  • Strengthened transparency and traceability of supply chains
  • Support for the effective ratification of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) and ILO Conventions relevant for fisheries
  • The introduction of IMO numbers or alternative unique verification identifiers linked to a global record of fishing vessels
  • Promote harmonization of import verification procedures across all EU member states, including an electronic catch certification system

According to EJF Executive Director, Steve Trent, there is a growing appetite for information on where seafood is coming from.

“Knowing where, and under what conditions, seafood is caught is vital for building legal and sustainable fisheries, and companies have a right to demand suppliers provide information on where products come from,” he said.

“It is time for major retailers, brands, importers and suppliers to take decisive action and push further for transparency and traceability in the seafood supply chain. By doing so they will be helping to eradicate illegal fishing, protect our oceans from its devastating impacts and support the poorest people on our planet who so often end up the victims of pirate fishing practices.”

Illegal fishing activities currently cost the global economy an estimated USD 10 billion (EUR 9.4 billion) to USD 23.5 billion (EUR 22.1 billion) every year – representing 11 to 26 million metric tons (MT) of fish, and such practices have been strongly linked to widespread and severe human rights abuses happening on-board fishing vessels, said EJF.


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