Combating IUU Fishing in the EU

Written by on November 25, 2012 in Policy & Ocean Law

Emily Tripp

Ships transferring illegal catch off the coast of Sierra Leone.

Ships transferring illegal catch off the coast of Sierra Leone. Photo credit: Kieran Kelleher, NOAA.

On Nov 15, the European Union released a list of countries that are not sufficiently fighting against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The list was made based on the country’s level of compliance with the rules and regulations and took into account their level of development.

IUU fishing can reduce the productivity of legitimate fisheries.  It can produce between 11 and 26 million tons of seafood annually (up to 40% of the total catch) which can result in an annual economic loss between $10 and $23 billion.

“We have to put sustainability at the heart of our action both for fish caught in our waters and for fish caught in other waters,” said Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Below are the countries on the list:

  1. Belize
  2. Cambodia
  3. Fiji
  4. Guinea
  5. Panama
  6. Sri Lanka
  7. Togo
  8. Vanuatu

These countries will be banned from trading any fisheries products with the EU and will be barred from all joint fishing operations or chartering agreements with EU vessels.  But, all of the countries will be given an opportunity to respond and improve their performance.

“Illegal fishing is a major threat to the world’s fish,” said Tony Long, head of the Pew Environment Group’s global effort to end illegal fishing.  “All too often, illegal fishers are able to operate with impunity due to lax enforcement at the State level.  The European Commission, by publishing this list, is making it clear that it is serious about confronting countries that do not stop illegal fishing or continue to trade in illegally caught fish.”

To learn more:

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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