EJF guides French retailers and firms to combat illegal fishing

Date: November 30, 2016

Source & Author: FIS

Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has issued a new advisory note for French industry, retailers and brands on the risks associated with illegal fishing.

In collaboration with SeaWeb Europe, WWF-France and Carrefour, EJF has just launched in Paris this new guidance that builds on the success of the guide released last year by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), EJF and WWF-UK for the benefit of the UK supply chain.

The French adaptation of last year’s guide offers expert advice on source risk assessment and mitigation, and encourages action to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishery products entering French supply chains.

Referring to this new guide, launched in Paris (France), EJF Executive Director Steve Trent pointed out: “After the success of our UK advisory note, we are excited to be launching similar guidance for French retailers as this represents a growing appetite for information on just where our seafood is coming from.”

The director stressed that knowing where, and under what conditions, seafood is caught is vital for building legal and sustainable fisheries, and companies have a right to demand suppliers provide information on where products come from.

“It is time for major retailers, brands, importers and suppliers to take decisive action and push further for transparency and traceability in the seafood supply chain,” Trent claimed.

In his view, this initiative will help to eradicate illegal fishing, protect oceans from its devastating impacts and support the poorest people on the planet who so often end up the victims of pirate fishing practices.

EJF stressed that illegal fishing activities currently cost the global economy an estimated USD 10 to 23.5 billion every year – representing 11 to 26 million tonnes of fish, and that such practices have been strongly linked to widespread and severe human rights abuses happening on-board fishing vessels.

The entity explains that the new advisory set out key recommendations include:

  • Strengthened transparency and traceability of seafood supply chains;
  • Support for the effective ratification of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement and ILO Conventions relevant for fisheries;
  • The introduction of IMO numbers or alternative Unique Verification Identifiers linked to a Global Record of fishing vessels;
  • Promotion of harmonization of import verification procedures across all EU Member States, including an electronic catch certification system.

In reference to the experience in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews, Head of Sustainability at the the BRC said: “British retailers have been taking the lead in tackling the huge problem of illegally caught fish on the back of BRC and EJF’s practical guidance.” And he concluded that their collective expertise is influencing global sourcing for the benefit of all.


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