WWF response to EC warnings to pirate fishing flag states
Bigeye trevally or Bigeye jack (Caranx sexfasciatus) congregate in schools for safety from attack by predators such as sharks. Fiji
WWF reacted today to the warning issued by the EC to eight developing countries that they risk being identified as "non-cooperative" in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The countries in question are Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu.
WWF applauds the Commission for taking action as the warning includes some countries known to be IUU “hot spots”. WWF continues to support DG-Mare’s active and growing leadership in combatting IUU fishing both domestically and abroad.
WWF notes, however, that the countries on the current EC warning list are among the smallest producers and exporters of wild-capture fish products, accounting all together for only 1.3% of total world marine production, according to official FAO figures. With IUU fishing estimated to account for approximately 20% of world fish catches, it is obvious that the EC list does not cover all of the worst IUU offenders or least “cooperative” states. WWF further notes that several EU member states have in the past been identified internationally as involved in significant IUU fishing, both in EU waters and beyond. EU leadership in confronting IUU activities must also begin at home.
Quote from David K. Schorr, Manager, Fisheries Governance, WWF Smart Fishing Initiative: “WWF considers the fight against IUU fishing to be among the top priorities for conserving marine ecosystems and achieving the sustainable management of aquatic resources, therefore we applaud the European Commission for taking action. But we also regret that the list includes only the “small fish”.
The United States, in implementing a law with similar provisions, has previously issued comparable warnings to China, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Italy, Libya, Panama, Portugal, Tunisia, and Venezuela.
The IUU Regulation requires identification of non-cooperating states “on the basis of transparent, clear and objective criteria”. Moving forward, WWF calls on the EC to strengthen the credibility and effectiveness of the “non-cooperating states” provisions of the Regulation through implementation that is fully equitable and more closely targeted on the most serious IUU offenders.
For further information or interview requests:
Alexandra Bennett, Communications Director,
WWF European Policy Office
Mobile: +32 477 393 400
David K. Schorr, Manager, Fisheries Governance,
WWF Smart Fishing Initiative
Tel: +1 202 495 4126