EU threatens Ghana, Guinea with fishing sanctions
26 November 2013, 15:55
Brussels - The European Commission on Tuesday urged EU governments to hit Belize, Cambodia and Guinea with trade sanctions over illegal fishing, while warning South Korea, Ghana and Curacao they may be next.
The European Union executive called for action against the first three after hitting them with so-called 'yellow cards' along with five others last year, but without observing any "credible progress".
The Commission flagged up a new round of 'yellow cards' which puts key free-trade partner South Korea, Ghana and Caribbean island Curacao under mounting pressure to meet international obligations.
Once placed on an official list of "non-cooperating countries" in the fight against illegal fishing, products from those territories will find themselves all-but shut out of the single EU market of half a billion consumers.
"West Africa was identified as a major source of illegal fishing and my intention is now take the same thorough approach in the Pacific," said EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki.
The EU says at least 15 percent of all landings around the world are done illegally, between 11 and 16 million tonnes each year.
An EU source said Spain, the bloc's most powerful fleet present off the west African coast, has raised reservations about including Guinea on the badlist.
Five countries made sufficient progress this year to avoid being expelled from EU markets at least until March next year: Fiji, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu.
The EU imports 65 percent of its fishing consumption.
Campaigners Greenpeace said the decisions announced would "motivate all six countries to improve fisheries management and help create a better future for their seas and fishermen."