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#488445 - 03/22/14 10:40 AM EU bans fish trade with Belize over IUU
Marty Online   happy
The EU’s executive arm will on Monday announce a ban on fish imports from Belize, Cambodia and Guinea (Conakry), in a move that could have repercussions for tuna companies such as MW Brands and Pervasa.

The ban is part of the EU’s efforts against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The European commission had proposed banning fishery imports from those three countries in November, while also issuing “yellow cards” to Ghana, South Korea and Curacao.

The EU fisheries council will now decide favorably on the proposal this coming Monday, said the commission in a statement.

The council’s decision is based on the view that Belize, Cambodia and Guinea are acting insufficiently against illegal fishing.

The sanctions mean imports into the EU of any fisheries products caught by vessels from these countries will be banned, while EU vessels will not be allowed to fish in these countries’ waters. It is the first time that measures of this type are adopted at EU level.

Other forms of cooperation, such as joint fishing operations or fisheries agreements with these countries will no longer be possible.

The sanctions could have repercussions for Europe’s largest tuna canner MW Brands and the Spanish tuna fishing group Pevasa, which both have vessels flagged to Belize, Undercurrent News unveiled last year.

In contrast the sanctions against Cambodia and Guinea are regarded as largely toothless by the industry, in part as the EU fleet is lacking access to Guinea waters this year.

Part of Thai Union Frozen Products, MW Brands has three vessels flagged to Belize — Cap Coz, Cap D’Ambre and Cap Verga – through its Ghanaian subsidiary, Pioneer Food Cannery. Pevasa, meanwhile, flies the Belize flag for its purse seiner Playa de Azkorri.

According to the EU commission, “despite the commission working closely with the authorities of Belize, Cambodia and Guinea to set up fisheries management and effective control measures, the three countries have still not addressed structural problems and have failed to show real commitment to tackling the problem of illegal fishing”.

“After several warnings, the commission therefore proposed to the council to list the three countries as non-cooperating countries, in line with the EU IUU regulation.”

In early December, Belize had called for a re-assessment of the commission’s decision. However, it seems this was not successful.

Source

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#488566 - 03/25/14 10:46 AM Re: EU bans fish trade with Belize over IUU [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
European Union blacklists seafood trade in Belize

In its toughest move yet to eradicate illegal fishing, the European Union on Monday blacklisted Belize, Cambodia and Guinea, effectively banning their products from the world’s most valuable seafood market.

The move to target the three “as countries acting insufficiently against illegal fishing” means EU states will now be required to ban their fish imports and EU vessels required to stay out of their waters.

“These decisions are historic,” said the EU’s Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki. “I want EU citizens to know that the fish they consume is sustainable, wherever it comes from.”

Illegal fishing is estimated to account for 15 percent of world catches and the decision by the EU, which imports 65 percent of its seafood, won swift praise from environmental groups.

“Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing depletes fish stocks, damages marine ecosystems, puts legitimate fishers at an unfair disadvantage and jeopardizes the livelihoods of some of the world’s most vulnerable communities,” said WWF, Oceana, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Environmental Justice Foundation.

The three countries were among eight nations warned in late 2012 to take action against illegal fishing or face such action.

The European Commission considered that the five other nations warned — Panama, Fiji, Togo, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu — had made significant progress, but the Commission is continuing to monitor the situation.

Another three countries — South Korea, Ghana and Curacao — received warning “yellow cards” in November and are currently being evaluated.

Source

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#488568 - 03/25/14 10:49 AM Re: EU bans fish trade with Belize over IUU [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Brussels, Belgium: Today, four leading environmental groups – Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts and WWF have welcomed a decision by the EU Fisheries Council to place trade restrictions on Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea for failing to cooperate in fighting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The decision means EU member states are now required to ban the import of fish from Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea and ensure that EU fishing vessels do not operate in the waters of these nations.

In addition to welcoming the ban’s approval by the EU’s 28 fisheries ministers, and praising the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, for her leadership, the NGOs are calling for greater transparency in the way the EU evaluates third countries’ efforts to fight illegal fishing. They are also calling on the European Commission to close a loophole that allows non-EU vessels fishing in the banned countries’ waters to continue exporting their catches to the EU, and to work with EU member states to strengthen efforts to keep illegally-caught fish off the dinner plates of European consumers.

The three countries were initially amongst eight countries identified by the European Commission in November 2012 for inadequate monitoring of their fishing fleets, neglecting to impose sanctions on illegal fishing operators, and failing to develop robust fisheries laws. In 2013 the Commission announced that Fiji, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Vanuatu had improved but that Belize, Cambodia and Guinea had not. Today’s Council decision confirms the Commission recommendation that the countries be formally blacklisted or “red-carded” and prevented from trading fish with the EU.

IUU fishing depletes fish stocks, damages marine ecosystems, puts legitimate fishers at an unfair disadvantage and jeopardises the livelihoods of some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. IUU fishing is estimated to cost between 7 and 17 billion euro annually, representing 11 to 26 million tonnes of catch. The EU IUU Regulation aims to deprive market access for illegal fish, by requiring “catch certificates” for imports into the EU, as well as banning the entry of fish from countries and vessels involved in illegal fishing.

A second round of “yellow cards” was issued by the European Commission in November 2013, with Curaçao, Ghana, and South Korea warned that they could also face the same set of trade measures if they do not cooperate in fighting IUU fishing. South Korean vessels have been widely documented fishing illegally in West Africa, causing significant impacts on coastal fishing communities and the marine environment. The organisations are calling on the EU to continue to show the same determination and resoluteness towards other countries that repeatedly fail to observe the rules.

Steve Trent, Executive Director of Environmental Justice Foundation said:
“Closing the world’s most valuable seafood market to countries that do not cooperate in fighting illegal fishing is a crucial step, and we applaud the EU for taking this decision. Whilst it is not perfect, the EU IUU Regulation is clearly the world’s leading piece of legislation in this field – there are already signs that coastal communities in West Africa are seeing the benefits of the EU’s action towards offending vessels and flag States.”

Maria José Cornax, Fisheries Campaign Manager at Oceana said:
“The EU's efforts to tackle IUU fishing worldwide have truly materialised today with this unprecedented step. We hope that fishing nations around the world are looking today at the EU's leadership, and are ready to follow this newly opened path towards the definitive elimination of IUU fishing."

Tony Long, Director, Ending Illegal Fishing Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts said:
“The Council, by adopting this red list on non-compliant countries, has achieved a milestone in fighting illegal fishing. This shows that the European Union is serious about confronting countries that do not stop illegal fishing or continue to trade in illegally caught fish.”

Eszter Hidas, EU Policy Lead for WWF's Transparent Seas Project said:
"WWF supports the EU's efforts to impose sanctions where necessary to ensure that marine ecosystems and livelihoods are not damaged by illegal and irresponsible fishing practices. There must be consequences for persistent inaction after repeated warnings. We expect that Belize, Cambodia and Guinea will now take immediate action to impose effective fishing regulations.”

WWF


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#488575 - 03/25/14 11:38 AM Re: EU bans fish trade with Belize over IUU [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Beyond the pale. Shame on this UDP govt for allowing this to happen. Not only impacts on our exports and foreign exchange, but on our reputation as responsible world citizens. We are a pariah nation.
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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#488588 - 03/26/14 01:46 AM Re: EU bans fish trade with Belize over IUU [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
The government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has reacted “with concern” to the news that the European Union has blacklisted Belize as a country that is not cooperating in the fight against illegal fishing.

The ban on Fisheries products was announced on Monday and joining Belize on the blacklist were Cambodia and Guinea.

A statement issued by the Government of Belize this morning said that “there was absolutely no justification for this action as Belize has taken all necessary steps required by the E.U’s Directorate General of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) to eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.”

According to the government statement, “the decision of the EU Council is based on outdated information and takes no account of the measures adopted by Belize within the last six (6) months to strengthen its high seas fishing regime.”

The statement then goes on to list what Belize has been doing to try to avoid the international sanction, such as enactment of tougher legislation last November that prescribed stiffer penalties for violations of international fishing regulations by ships that are flying the Belize flag of convenience.

Another measure which Belmopan said it has implemented in a move to try an avoid sanction was the hiring of the South African company Capricorn Fisheries Monitoring, which is to provide “On Sea Observer services for Belize flagged vessels at a cost of about US$200,000 for the first year.” But while the list of measures taken to improve Belize’s participation in the fight against illegal fishing are robust, according to Belmopan, the news of those measures appears to have been slow in reaching the European Union, hence the blacklisting of Belize.

Still, the Barrow administration says it will continue to implement other measures “relating to the size of our fleet and the adoption of monitoring, control and surveillance regulations,” and then, hopefully, the EU’s Directorate General of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries “would then make a recommendation to the EU Council to remove Belize from the list of non-cooperating third countries, when the Council reconvenes in September this year.”

Patrick Jones

-------------------

The Government of Belize has noted with concern
the decision of the Council of the European Union to list Belize, along with
Cambodia and Guinea, as a ‘non-cooperating third country’ in the fight against illegal fishing. The Government believes that there was absolutely no justification for this action as Belize has taken all necessary steps required by the E.U’s Directorate General of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) to eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The decision of the EU Council is based on outdated information and takes no account of the measures adopted by Belize within the last six (6) months to strengthen its high seas fishing regime. In October 2013, Belize enacted a new and robust High Seas Fishing Act which came into effect on November 8, 2013. This Act was supplemented by the Sanctions Regulations and the Licensing Regulations, both of which came into force on March 12, 2014. These regulations which prescribe stringent penalties for violations of this Act would make the High Seas Fishing Act fully operational – a key demand of the EU. In addition, Belize has signed a contract with a South African Company, Capricorn Fisheries Monitoring,
to provide On Sea Observer services for Belize flagged vessels, at a cost of about US$200,000 for the first year. This program takes effect from April 1, 2014.
n addition to the above measures, Belize has also prepared monitoring and surveillance regulations, as well as a national plan of action, to eliminate IUU fishing.

In January this year, a delegation from the EU’s DG MARE, along with the EU Commissioner for the Caribbean based in Jamaica, visited Belize to discuss the action taken by Belize to comply with the EU Regulations on IUU fishing. The delegation met with Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow and was assured of Belize’s total commitment to eliminate IUU fishing. Since then, we have had no indication that the EU was still contemplating listing Belize as a ‘non-cooperating third country’.

While the reasons given by the EU to list Belize are no longer valid, we will work closely with DG MARE to implement a few other measures relating to the size of our fleet and the adoption of monitoring, control and surveillance regulations. We are assured that DG MARE would then make a recommendation to the EU Council to remove Belize from the list of non-cooperating third countries, when the Council reconvenes in September this year.

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#488712 - 03/28/14 10:51 AM Re: EU bans fish trade with Belize over IUU [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Why Didn’t EU Get The Memo On Belize Fisheries?

And finally today we got to ask the Prime Minister about the European Union ban on fisheries products from Belize.

A release from government this week said that there was no justification for this action because in January, a delegation from the EU visited Belize to discuss the action taken by Belize to comply with the EU Regulations on Illegal and Unregulated fishing. But then this decision came out in March, which led Jules Vasquez to ask the PM if that delegation flew back to the EU on that ill-fated Air Malaysia flight:

Jules Vasquez
"The people who came to see him in January must have been in the Air Malaysia flight or some such thing because apparently he met with them and they didn't take the message back. They must have disappeared."

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"So it appears, but I'm not especially worried except, I think the EU does need to get its act together. You can't send a team down here, you can't have an understanding reached; you can't offer assurances by way of that team that certain things will happen or not happen and then within a couple of weeks, you go back on your word. But the practical effect of what has been done is not of a kind of consequence that unduly worries me. You are talking about a small number of ships, part of the fishing fleet, that can't now access European Ports. In the larger scheme of things, really it is not something to be especially concerned about."

Channel 7


Oceana offers assistance to GOB on EU fishery ban

Oceana has reached out to the Government of Belize to assist in removing Belize from the European Union’s (EU) blacklist for not acting promptly against illegal fishing.

Oceana Vice President for Belize Janelle Chanona told The Reporter that Oceana stands ready to assist the government by facilitating the dialogue between GOB and key EU figures through its international contacts.

Chanona reported that the response from the government has been positive and receptive and both parties are committed to removing Belize from the blacklist.

Chanona explained that the nationalization of the International Merchant Marine Registry (IMMARBE) was a big step in indicating that Belize is serious about stopping illegal high seas fishing. But more, obviously, remains to be done.

On Tuesday the government, via press release, stated that it believed the decision by the EU Council was unjustified because Belize has taken all necessary steps required by the E.U’s Directorate of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to eradicate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

GOB argued that the EU Council based its decision on outdated information and has not taken into account the measures Belize has adopted within the last six months to strengthen its high seas fishing regime.

GOB reminded that in October 2013, Belize enacted a new High Seas Fishing Act which came into effect on November 8, 2013, and this Act was supplemented by the Sanctions Regulations and the Licensing Regulations, both of which came into force on March 12, 2014.

According to the government release, these regulations prescribe stringent penalties for violations of this Act and would make the High Seas Fishing Act fully operational – a key demand of the EU.

In addition, Belize has signed a contract with a South African Company, Capricorn Fisheries Monitoring, to provide On Sea Observer services for Belize flagged vessels, at a cost of about US$200,000 for the first year. This program takes effect from April 1, 2014.

GOB also stated that they would work closely with the Directorate of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to implement other measures.

Director of the Belize Federation of Fishers, Nigel Martinez also told The Reporter that its Executive Management Committee has called an emergency meeting for Friday in Belize City to discuss the possible impact the ban could have on their members.

The Reporter


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