EU Lifts Fisheries Sanctions On Ghana

The European Commission has lifted the ban it placed on fish imports from Ghana after the country successfully addressed shortcomings in its fisheries governance system.

The Commission gave the warning to the country in November 2013 and June 2014.

The European Commission, which disclosed this in a recent release, said the country had amended its legal frameworks to combat IUU fishing, strengthened its sanctioning systems, improved monitoring and control of its fleets and complied with international law.

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said the decisions “demonstrate the determination of the European Union (EU) to bring important players on board in the fight against IUU fishing. Both Ghana and Papua New Guinea have taken ownership of their fisheries reforms and now have robust legal and policy frameworks in place to fight IUU fishing activities.

“I am calling on the authorities of the Comoros and Taiwan to follow their example and join the European Union in promoting legal and sustainable fisheries worldwide.”

The Commissioner added that “as Ghana and Papua New Guinea join the growing list of countries (Korea, the Philippines, Fiji, Belize, Panama, Togo and Vanuatu) that have reformed their systems, following a warning by the EU, the Commission looks forward to working with these international partners against IUU fishing.

“Fighting illegal fishing is part of the EU’s drive to ensure the sustainable use of the sea and its resources in line with the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and better governance of the oceans worldwide, as also shared in the commitments made in the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 14: Life Below Water).”

In a communiqué adopted recently on the key achievements of the IUU Regulation, it laid out the next steps in the implementation of the IUU rules.

The Commission will continue to work towards simpler, modernized and more cost-effective systems.

Since November 2012, the Commission has been in formal dialogue with several countries (pre-identification or ‘yellow card’), which have been warned to take strong action to fight IUU fishing. When significant progress is observed, the Commission can end the dialogue (lifting the pre-identification status or ‘green card).

This has been the case for Fiji, Panama, Togo and Vanuatu since October 2014 and for Korea and the Philippines since April 2015.