finance industry

EU says PH faces import ban over illegal fishing

Agence France-Presse
The EU will only lift its 'yellow card' on trade if the country is able to curb illegal fishing in 6 months

FISHERIES SECTOR. Can the Philippines fulfill EU standards on illegal fishing measures in 6 months? Photo by Pia Ranada/Rappler

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union warned Tuesday, June 10, the Philippines, one of the world’s largest fishing nations, and Papua New Guinea that they faced an import ban if they do not curb illegal fishing. (READ: PH oceans in crisis: The sad state of small fisherfolk)

The European Commission said it had failed to make progress in talks with both countries and decided to issue a formal warning – a “yellow card” – that they must reach European Union standards on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

If the Philippines, listed as the 12th biggest global fishing nation, and PNG fail to come up to scratch “through dialogue and cooperation… then the EU can proceed to trade measures,” it said. (READ: 2 pygmy sperm whales killed by dynamite fishing in Siargao)

The position will be reviewed in 6 months time to see if the two countries have made enough progress on action plans drawn up by the EU, it added. (READ: Poaching: More fun in the Philippines?)

In March, the EU banned fish imports from Belize, Cambodia and Guinea for “acting insufficiently against illegal fishing.”

The Commission similarly warned Panama, Fiji, Togo, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu in 2012 and South Korea, Ghana and Curacao in 2013 but said Tuesday most of these countries had “cooperated constructively” with Brussels.

Illegal fishing is estimated to account for 15% of the world catch annually, with the EU importing about 65% of its seafood.

Fisheries in the Philippines and PNG are under huge pressure from growing populations and environmental damage.

The EU imported fish worth 165 million euros from the Philippines in 2013 and 108 million euros from PNG. –

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