Ghana risks being identified as a non-cooperating country in the fight against IUU fishing
The European Commission has called on Ghana to take the necessary measures to comply with its international obligations in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The Commission said it had identified various gaps in Ghana’s ability to comply with its obligations under international law as a flag, port, coastal or market state. and unregulated fishing (IUU).
According to the Commission: “The sanctions imposed by Ghana on vessels engaged in or supporting IUU fishing activities are not effective and do not constitute an adequate deterrent”.
In a statement released by the Commission on 02 June 2021 and obtained by the Ghanaian news agency in Tema on Thursday, he said: Ghana has therefore received the yellow card, which is a fundamental warning giving Ghana the opportunity to react and to take action. rectify the situation within a reasonable time.
“At this stage, the decision does not involve any measures affecting trade. However, in the event of prolonged and continuous non-compliance, the country may eventually face a red card identification procedure, which results in sanctions such as a ban on exporting fishery products to the market. of the EU, ”the statement read.
The Commission said it was working to support the people of Ghana on the ground with several capacity building.
Identified gaps included; illegal transshipments at sea of large quantities of undersized juvenile pelagic species between industrial trawlers and canoes in Ghanaian waters, gaps in monitoring, control and surveillance of the fleet, and an unsuccessful legal framework is not aligned with relevant international obligations Ghana had registered.
The Commission therefore advised Ghana to ensure effective monitoring and control of the activities of its fishing vessels and proper implementation of its enforcement and sanction system.
“It should also ensure a strong fisheries management system to prevent fish from IUU fishing activities reaching its market or others including; the European ”.
The Commission said illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing jeopardized the foundations of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the EU’s international efforts to promote better ocean governance.
“As part of the European Green Agreement and the pursuit of the United Nations’ sustainable development objective for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources, the Commission is committed to adopt a zero tolerance approach to IUU fishing.
“The fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is also an important aspect of the objective of the EU biodiversity strategy to protect the marine environment”.
The EU, the statement said, was the world’s largest importer of fishery products, stating that “the global value of IUU fishing is estimated at € 10-20 billion per year. Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally each year, which corresponds to at least 15 percent of global catches ”.
He said that since November 2012, the Commission has started formal dialogues with 27 third countries, officially warned them of the need to take effective measures to combat IUU fishing. “In most cases, significant progress has been observed and the Commission has therefore been able to complete the formal dialogue phase satisfactorily and lift the yellow card. Only a few countries have failed to demonstrate the necessary commitment to reform so far.
“According to the EU, Ghana received a yellow card in November 2013, which was later lifted in October 2015, after the government addressed the shortcomings.
“The Commission’s decision is based on the EU’s ‘IUU regulation’, which entered into force in 2010. One of the pillars of this regulation is the catch certification system which ensures that only products from the legally caught fish can enter the EU market.
“The regulation also provides for specific dialogue mechanisms with countries that fail to meet their obligations as flag, coastal, port and market states under international law,” the statement said.