Commission proposes to lift ‘red card’ from Republic of Guinea after it steps up fight against illegal fishing

Date: September 13, 2016

Source and Author: European Commission

The Commission has proposed to lift the “red card” and the associated trade measures for fisheries products from the Republic of Guinea, following significant improvements to its national fisheries governance to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “This is an important decision for the Commission and for the Republic of Guinea, and good news for sustainable fisheries around the globe. After a long dialogue process Guinea has shown real commitment to fighting illegal fishing. We encourage them to join us in our ongoing work to promote improved ocean governance, including legal and sustainable fisheries worldwide.”

The Republic of Guinea was warned by the Commission in November 2012 of the risk of being considered a non-cooperating country, with the so called “yellow card”. It was listed or “red-carded” by the Council for inadequate action in November 2013.

Today’s good news follows several years of dialogue with Guinea, which has now successfully addressed the shortcomings in its fisheries governance. In particular, Guinea has revised its legal framework to combat IUU fishing, strengthened its sanctioning system, improved monitoring and control of its fleet and waters, and is now complying with international law.

Guinea has also ratified the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), an important tool under the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that prevents illegal fish from being landed in the country’s ports. This international agreement entered into force last month.

As a result of these changes the Commission has proposed to end formal discussions with Guinea and remove it from the list of non-cooperating countries. The Commission looks forward to continued cooperation with this partner in the fight against IUU fishing.

Fighting illegal fishing is part of the EU’s commitment to ensure the sustainable use of the sea and its resources under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, and in the context of better governance of the oceans worldwide.

Today’s Decision is based on the EU’s ‘IUU Regulation’, which entered into force in 2010. This key instrument in the fight against illegal fishing ensures that only fisheries products that have been certified as legal can access the EU market.

The global value of IUU fishing is estimated at approximately 10 billion euros per year. Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally a year, corresponding to at least 15% of world catches. The EU is the world’s biggest importer of fisheries products.

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