European Union’s Long Distance Advisory Council publishes opinion on implementation of the EU regulation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

Date: December 13, 2016

Source & Author: Victoria Mundy*

On 24 November 2016, the EU’s Long Distance Advisory Council (LDAC) published an Opinion on improving implementation of the EU IUU Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1005/2008). The LDAC is an EU fisheries body representing stakeholders of both the distant water fishing sector and other groups of interest, whose mission is to provide advice to the European institutions and EU member states on matters including the international market for fishing products.The Opinion recognises the importance of the IUU Regulation in combatting IUU fishing, both through the Regulation’s catch certification scheme for imports of seafood into the EU, and at the global level through cooperation with third (non-EU) countries.

At the same time, however, the Opinion emphasises the need to ensure harmonisation of the Regulation across all member states, in order to avoid possible asymmetries in duties of inspection and control. The LDAC also considers that the catch certification scheme needs to be modernised, moving away from the current paper-based system, which precludes real-time exchange of information between member states and a coordinated approach to control.

To achieve these objectives, the Opinion sets out a number of recommendations, which are summarised below. The Opinion stresses, in particular, the need to establish an EU-wide database of CC information as a matter of priority, which should incorporate harmonised and robust risk analysis criteria to direct member state verifications towards CCs that present a high risk of linkages to IUU fishing.

In establishing these risk criteria and the database itself, the LDAC advises the Commission to take into account the recommendations on risk criteria and modernisation of the catch certification scheme set out in two papers published by some members of the LDAC.

The LDAC’s recommendations to the Commission to improve implementation of the IUU Regulation include the following:

  • establish a centralised electronic database at EU level for the CC scheme as a matter of priority by latest mid-2017;
  • establish risk analysis criteria to verify those CCs with high risk;
  • establish a minimum import verification %, using variables such as risk analysis depending on the country of origin or track record of the operator, amongst others;
  • ensure improved and harmonised reporting of activities by member states in their biennial compliance reports under the Regulation; and
  • undertake audit missions to member states to assess compliance of their procedures with the Regulation’s requirements regarding the CC scheme.

The full Opinion may be downloaded here.

*Victoria Mundy is the policy researcher for a coalition of non-governmental organisations that is working to secure the harmonised and effective implementation of the European Union’s Regulation to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

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