Study shows why illegal seafood is still entering the EU

Date: February 3, 2017

Source & Author: FIS

Illegal seafood catches are still entering EU because the cross-checking of paper import documents is not possible, a new research reveals.
In spite of the EU’s ground-breaking 2010 legislation – the EU IUU Regulation, whose goal is to end illegal fishing – importing illegal fisheries products into the EU is currently still surprisingly easy as a direct consequence of Member States not having access to a common database of information on seafood imports.

A core part of the EU IUU Regulation is the Catch Certificate scheme (CC) which aims to ensure that products originating from IUU fishing activities are prevented from entering the EU market.

However, two real-life case studies, undertaken by a coalition of international NGOs demonstrate the weaknesses in the Catch Certificate Scheme seven years after its application.

The first case analyses how a suspected illegal consignment was allowed in to one Member State because authorities had no knowledge it had been rejected by another Member State due to a mis-used catch certificate.

Under the current paper-based CC scheme, copies of the same certificate may be used to import multiple consignments into different points across the EU, in excess of the total weight certified by the original document.

The second case study shows how suspect imports can successfully be blocked, when countries use rigorous and harmonised checks.

Hence, an EU-wide database of Catch Certificates information is needed. The European Commission has committed to launching such a system but failed to meet its own self-imposed deadline for it in 2016.

The examples also show the urgency of a harmonisation of IUU import controls across all EU member states, in accordance with a risk-based approach.

These recommendations were included in two position papers published by the Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts and WWF in July 2016.

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