The European Commission has notified the Republic of Ecuador over the need to step up action to fight illegal fishing with a yellow card.
‘Ecuador is a major trade partner for fishery products. We have a huge responsibility towards the EU consumers to make sure that the imports from this country only stem from legal fishing activities. The European Commission has detected shortcomings that hinder the capacity of Ecuador to provide this assurance,’ said Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.
‘We invite the Ecuadorian authorities to step up their efforts and implement the necessary reforms to fight against IUU fishing. We stand ready to work closely with Ecuador to tackle the identified issues and raise the standards of fisheries management. Fighting illegal fishing has been an integral part of the EU’s action to improve ocean governance over the last ten years, and it will remain high on the political agenda also under the incoming Commission.’
The decision is based on identified shortcomings in Ecuador’s ability to comply with agreed standards under international law of the sea as flag, port and market state. Ecuador is encouraged to step up its actions to ensure that fish entering its market do not stem from IUU fishing.
In particular, it should develop an enforcement and sanctioning system to address IUU fishing activities. Moreover, an adequate control of the activity of processing plants – especially those exporting to the EU – is paramount. The Commission has also identified limitations in the fisheries legal framework.
At this stage, the decision does not entail any measures affecting trade. The yellow card is a warning and offers Ecuador the chance to react and take measures to rectify the situation within a reasonable time. The mechanism to address IUU provides that in cases of continued non-compliance countries can ultimately face exclusion of their fish exports from the EU market (red card).