FIJI TV – Fiji now has more opportunities to increase its fish exports to the European Union.
This follows the European Commission’s decision to withdraw its formal warning against Fiji, after the country implemented successful measures to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Fiji had received a formal warning or known as a “yellow card” from the European Union in November 2012.
Since then the country has taken concrete measures to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing challenges.
“There was a team which came here 3 or 4 times to talk directly to different partners, the fisheries ministry and so on. The cooperation was very close , very effective and we were very pleased that Fiji bought in new legislations very much in line with international standards to combat illegal unregulated fishing , there’s a national plan of action approved by the cabinet now, there’s a tuna management plan and there’s a lot going on to build capacity control and inspection staff so a real comprehensive plan to fight illegal fishing so we were extremely pleased with the cooperation we had with Fiji. I’m very pleased that the green card is now there and there’ll be absolutely no problem in continuing exports to the EU of Fiji and fisheries products from Fiji,” said the EU Ambassador to the Pacific Andrew Jacobs.
The European Union said such measures have to be taken, as 65% of the fish they consume are imported.
“We realize that a lot of the fish that were being consumed in the European Union had been caught illegally which meant that licenses were not paid, there is no real protection of fish docks and this is something which is very damaging for the countries themselves particularly for the vulnerable members of society who can really make a good living if fisheries are handled in the proper way,” said Jacobs.
The EU said inaction could have ultimately resulted in fish from Fiji being excluded from the European Union market.
Now given the ‘ green card ‘, it shows Fiji has made progress, opening up opportunities for our exporters.
“ I think the biggest export to the EU of fish is PNG and then the Solomons then Fiji which means there’s a lot of opportunities for more exports from Fiji to the EU. The EU is the biggest consumer, the European citizens are hungry for fish and I’m pleased there’s a lot of opportunities for exporters from Fiji in Europe and we look forward to those opportunities being taken up,” said Jacobs.
The estimated global value of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is approximately 24 billion Fijian dollars a year.
Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally each year, which corresponds to at least 15% of the world’s catches.