EU warns Trinidad and Tobago of possible sanctions over fisheries system

Fishing nets are on the deck of a small fishing vessel. In the Sea of Japan in the evening.

Fishing nets are on the deck of a small fishing vessel. In the Sea of Japan in the evening.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Trinidad and Tobago is at risk of being sanctioned by the European Union (EU) for being uncooperative in the fight against illegal fishing, and has been given six months to address the problems.

Failure to do so could see fisheries products from the country banned from entering the EU.

The twin-island republic was among three countries warned yesterday by the European Commission – the others being Kiribati and Sierra Leone – and given “yellow cards”, which indicate they will be listed as uncooperative in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing if certain steps are not taken.

In the case of Trinidad and Tobago, the Commission said the warning is based on the fact that the Caribbean country has a large fleet operating internationally and authorities do not control or inspect foreign vessels, nor cooperate with relevant flag States.

It added that a poor traceability system also causes the risk of laundering of fisheries products.

“The Commission is proposing a tailor-made action plan that will help put in place robust fisheries management control systems for these countries. If identified issues are not resolved within six months, the EU can consider taking further steps, including trade sanctions on fisheries imports,” the Commission said in a statement.

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said the decisions are another sign of the EU’s

determination to fight illegal fishing globally. They are based on the EU’s IUU Regulation, which entered into force in 2010. That instrument ensures that only fisheries products that have been certified as legal can access the EU market.

The Commission is also in formal dialogue with other Caribbean countries that have been warned of the need to take strong action to fight IUU fishing, including St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

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