The import ban aims to stop the commercial benefits stemming from illegal fishing activities in the country, it will also mean that EU member states’ fishing vessels cannot fish in Sri Lankan waters.
Sri Lanka had previously been warned by the European Commission and given a ‘yellow card’ in November 2012. Due to inaction on this warning, the EC has now placed Sri Lanka on the 'red card' list.
The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and WWF welcomed the announcement.
“This decision reiterates that EU fisheries ministers are serious about confronting illegal fishing globally. We encourage Sri Lanka to put the measures in place to dissuade IUU fishing by their vessels, or by vessels landing in their ports,” said Tony Long of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
“Our Coalition is ready to support the government of Sri Lanka in combating IUU fishing, especially towards implementing stronger measures in their ports and tracking its fleet,” he continued.
“Karmenu Vella is to be commended for the Commission’s proposal of this measure. We are calling on him to not only maintain these efforts but to increase enforcement of this pioneering legislation across the EU,” said Andreas Baumüller from WWF.
“We also recognise that Sri Lanka has recently increased efforts to combat IUU fishing and we welcome opportunities to work with the government and local stakeholders to achieve the needed improvements,” he concluded.