January 24, 2017 — The European Commission (EC) has lifted the so-called illegal fishing “yellow cards” that had been placed on Curacao and the Solomon Islands, recognizing the significant progress both countries have made in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
“This is a good day for Curacao and Solomon Islands, and good news for sustainable fisheries around the globe. Countries worldwide have a shared duty to fight illegal fishing, protect law-abiding fishermen, and keep our oceans healthy. I encourage others to join the European Union in this fight and contribute to better ocean governance,” said European Union Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.
Under the IUU Regulation, the E.C. warned Curacao in November 2013 and the Solomon Islands in December 2014 that they were not doing enough against IUU fishing. Since then, both countries have embarked on a series of reforms to bring their fisheries legal and administrative frameworks in line with international law, and are now equipped to tackle illegal fishing effectively.
Working closely with the E.C., they have strengthened their sanctioning system, and have improved monitoring and control of their fleets.
The IUU Regulation is the E.U.’s main tool in the fight against illegal fishing. It encourages countries to work with the E.C. to improve their fisheries governance and retain access to E.U. markets.
The E.C. estimates that the global value of IUU fishing is approximately EUR 10 billion (USD 10.6 billion) per year, equating to as much as 15 percent of catches worldwide.
Curacao and the Solomon Islands join a growing list of countries that have reformed their fisheries governance systems following a warning by the E.U., including Sri Lanka, Ghana, and the Philippines.