Aquaculture for all

EU and Japan Cooperate on Fight Against Illegal Fishing

Sustainability Politics +2 more

JAPAN - The EE Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki has signed with Japan a joint statement on mutual cooperation in the fight against Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing.

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On 11 July, Ms Damanaki signed the statement with Akira Gunji, Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries during her visit in the country.

The EU and Japan rank first and second, respectively, as the worlds top seafood importers. They have now agreed that the seafood they import will not be caught illegally.

Globally, IUU fishing deprives honest fishermen and coastal communities of up to $23 billion worth of seafood and seafood products annually. IUU fishing also threatens sustainability of fish stocks.

With the agreement the EU and Japan commit themselves to work together on the most effective tools to combat illegal fishing. As parties to regional fishery management organisations and to various international treaties, they will work towards strengthening monitoring and enforcement of management measures. They will also use the available means to prevent IUU operators from profiting from their illegal activities.

More specifically, the agreement commits its parties to:

  • Systematically exchange information on IUU activities;
  • promote, in regional fishery management organisations they belong to, management measures that strengthen control, monitoring and enforcement on vessels operating within a given areas;
  • encourage other countries to ratify and implement the Port State Measures Agreement of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations Committee on Fisheries;
  • promote the sustainable use of fisheries resources while preserving marine biodiversity.

A similar statement was signed by the EU and the United States in September last year.

"Illegal fishing is a criminal activity. Europe is committed to fight it and we have been building alliances worldwide, said Commissioner Damanaki. Today's agreement with Japan will help us enforce the rules, and it moves us closer to clearing our seas of dishonest fishermen."

The EU and Japan have already put in place a number of legal measures to combat IUU fishing, such as the EU's IUU Regulation. Both are active in international fishery management organisations and promote international instruments to address IUU fishing.

Commissioner Damanaki also travelled to the Tohoku region, a region which suffered heavily in the 2011 tsunami. The Commissioner met with the local authorities and the local community.

The visit's programme also includes meetings with several other ministers and authorities, as well as with NGOs and academia.

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