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.

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