European Union issues formal warning to Ghana over illegal fishing

FishThe European Union today November 26, 2013 issued a formal warning to Ghana over illegal fishing activities.

The EU handed Ghana what it calls ‘Yellow Card’ indicating that the country has “failed to keep up with international obligations to fight illegal fishing”.

In a statement, the European Commission says it has “identified concrete shortcomings, such as a lack of actions to address deficiencies in monitoring, controlling and surveillance of fisheries.”

Similar warnings were also given to Korea and Curaçao.

The Commission explains that Yellow Cards “will not, at this stage, entail any measures affecting trade”.

Instead the EU indicated it will, as was the case for the previously listed countries, work closely with the countries, through formalised dialogue and intensified cooperation, to resolve the identified issues and implement the necessary action plans.

If Ghana fails to comply with international fishing standards, fisheries products caught by vessels in the country will be banned from being imported into the EU.

The EU today announced moves intensifying the fight against illegal fishing.

“These decisions show our steadfast commitment to tackling illegal fishing. The EU market is negatively affected as are local and EU fishermen, said European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki.
According to the EU, West Africa has been identified as a major source of illegal fishing.

Damanaki  stated “We continue to put pressure on the countries which are fuelling the supply chain of illegal fishing be it as a coastal state, flag state, or flag of convenience..”

Fiji, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu also received formal warnings last year, but the EU said they have all made credible progress in close cooperation with the Commission.

They have set in motion new legislation and improved their monitoring, control and inspection systems and, as a result, dialogue with these countries has been extended until the end of February 2014 with progress to be evaluated next spring.

By Ekow Quandzie

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