Seafood Industry Can Help Europe Fight Illegal Fishing

Date: July 21, 2016

Source & Author: The Pew Charitable Trust

At panel, leaders highlight their role in EU carding system targeting illicit trade

The European Union has made preventing illegally caught seafood from entering its market a priority for its international diplomacy, and many players in the seafood industry have engaged in the global effort.

Industry representatives recently took part in a roundtable discussion during the Brussels International Seafood Expo about how their work can support EU enforcement efforts—and how they can provide guidance to nations outside Europe to boost compliance.

The EU uses a carding system to ensure that nations do a better job in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. In April, the European Commission issueda new set of formal warnings, or yellow cards, to countries in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Caribbean Sea.

Kiribati, Sierra Leone and Trinidad and Tobago received yellow cards for what the EU called continued failure to comply with international obligations to fight illegal fishing and to improve their fisheries management and control. The system gives nations time to make needed changes before imposing harsher sanctions. At the same time, the Commission lifted the red card that Sri Lanka received in January 2015. That included an end to trade restrictions, following significant improvements in Sri Lanka’s fisheries governance.


The 2010 EU IUU Regulation established the carding system as a key tool in efforts to keep illegally caught seafood out of the European market. Today, that process provides important incentives to third, or non-EU, countries to improve their fisheries management and control systems to make fishing more sustainable around the world. To date, the EU has engaged with nearly 50 non-EU countries seeking to secure such improvements, with the majority implementing reforms successfully and avoiding issuance of a yellow card.

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