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Red card to Sri Lanka: European Commission announces severe fishing trade sanctions

14 October 2014
by greenpeace -- last modified 14 October 2014

Greenpeace welcomed today's announcement by the European Commission that it will take a tougher stance against the government of Sri Lanka for its failure to co-operate in the global fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.


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The sanctions will extend beyond seafood import bans, covering all fisheries-related business with Sri Lankan companies and fishing vessels. Any such business between EU fishing companies and Sri Lanka must, as a result of today's decision, be put on halt.

Saskia Richartz, Greenpeace EU oceans policy director said: "The EU is a major market for seafood products from all over the world. It has a duty to protect the environment and consumers and improve labour standards, regardless of whether it is producing its own seafood or buying it from others. Where diplomatic efforts fail, the EU is right to ban the imports of products from countries like Sri Lanka that fail to manage their fisheries properly."

The Commission's decision to identify Sri Lanka as a non-cooperating third country is based on an analysis of its failings in fisheries governance, which include the lack of fishing licenses for distant water vessels, the lack of an effective vessel monitoring system, repeated cases of IUU fishing by its vessels, the failure to report to the relevant regional fisheries management organisation and failures to implement obligations under international law.

Richartz added: "Many EU-based companies invest and maintain joint fishing operations with companies and vessels registered in countries which are weak on fisheries governance. The EU should do more to identify and prevent investments into fishing activities that are unsustainable, unequitable or even illegal."

The Commission also announced that it would lift warnings against Belize, Fiji, Panama, Togo and Vanuatu as a result of substantial improvements in their fisheries governance. Korea, Curacao and Ghana have been given more time to improve their governance before import bans may be considered.

The EU imports almost as much as seafood as it catches: over 5.5 million tonnes of fisheries and aquaculture products from outside the EU, worth in total over 19 billion Euros every year, most of it frozen or tinned.

 

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.

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