Source: The Diplomat
Author: Sally Yozell*
Source: ClientEarth, EJF, Oceana, Our Fish, PEW and WWF
Upcoming discussions in the European Parliament to revise the control regulation will be key for all involved in the fisheries sector, including consumers.
Up to one in five wild-caught fish sold at market is stolen from the sea through illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Sales of IUU fishing products are estimated to be worth between $10 and $23.5 billion per year globally.
On 30 May 2018, the European Commission (EC) published a proposal for the revision of the fisheries control system in response to loopholes identified in the current legislation and following the European Court of Auditors’ call for more efforts in European Union fisheries controls. To kick off the revision process that will last two years and involve multiple negotiation processes between the European Parliament, the EU Member States and the EC, a group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has issued a list of recommendations on how to ensure a strong future fisheries control system. The NGOs, which include, amongst others, ClientEarth, the Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, Our Fish, The Pew Charitable Trusts and WWF, will work with key decision makers and stakeholders in the coming years to ensure that the EU will deliver a robust control system.
Norway has undertaken a self-assessment of flag State performance, using the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance (VGFSP) as a basis.
The VGFSP provide guidance to strengthen and monitor compliance by flag States with their international duties and obligations regarding the flagging and control of fishing vessels. Paragraphs 6-43 of the VGFSP outline the Performance Assessment Criteria – ranging from fisheries management, registration and records of vessels, fishing authorisations, monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) and cooperation between flag States and coastal States – against which countries are encouraged to rate the fulfilment of their obligations.
EJF published a new report showing that the global fishing industry suffers from a shocking lack of transparency, allowing Illegal operators to create as much confusion as possible around their identities; escaping detection by changing vessel names; concealing ownership; flying different flags to avoid detection; or removing ships from registers entirely. This report lays out the ‘ten principles for global transparency in the fishing industry’. These simple, low-cost measures – which include publishing license lists and giving vessels unique numbers – are well within the reach of any country and can play a pivotal role in the battle against illegal fishing and human rights abuse in the sector.
Source: EJF, PEW, Oceana, TNC and WWF
The 12th Asia-Europe Meeting and the 9th Republic of Korea-EU bilateral summit, both held this week in Brussels, offer crucial opportunities for Europe and Asia – both giants of the fishing industry – to work together to rebuild global marine resources. Increasing transparency on fishing activity is a vital step to safeguard our oceans to protect the rights of legitimate fishers and communities that rely on them for nutrition and livelihoods. To achieve that, the Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Nature Conservancy and WWF are calling for stronger legislation and country leadership to enhance transparency in fisheries management.
Overfishing is still a major threat to the world’s fish stocks, with many on the brink of collapse. 33% of fish stocks are being exploited at unsustainable levels, with a further 60% considered maximally sustainably fished. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing only exacerbates these alarming figures and undermines any efforts to manage global fisheries sustainably. It is key that major markets, such as the EU and Asia, or any flag state whose fishing vessels operate in the global oceans, view overfishing and IUU fishing as global challenges that need global solutions.
South Korea is a good example of a country in transition. It has a large distant water fleet that was plagued by allegations of IUU fishing. In response, the country developed and implemented bold policies to monitor and control its vessels. 2015 marked a decisive turning point after which all Korean fishing vessels were required to have vessel tracking devices and strict penalties for serious infringements were introduced. Continue reading Global partners for global challenges: The need for European and Asian fishing nations to prioritise transparency