Training on the EU IUU Catch Certification Scheme in the Philippines / by Francisco Blaha

Philippines received a yellow card notification from the European Commission in June 2014 notifying it that it was failing to discharge its duties as a flag, port, and coastal state to take action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing. 

 Unloading in GenSan

Unloading in GenSan

The decision highlighted that the country (in the EU's view) was not doing enough to fight illegal fishing. It identifies concrete shortcomings, such as lack of system of sanctions to deter IUU activities or lack of actions to address deficiencies in monitoring, controlling and surveillance of fisheries.

The decision does not, at this stage, entail any measures affecting trade. Countries that are being given a 'yellow card' warning and a reasonable time to respond and take measures to rectify the situation. Should the situation not  improve, the EU could take further steps, which could entail trade sanctions on fisheries imports, as was done recently with Guinea, Belize and Cambodia (IP/14/304).

Philippines and PNG were notified at the same time (I wrote about it before) and they share some of the problems being identified, hence it make sense that the training being provided is standardised, so the understanding of the technical issues is the same on both sides.

However, the Catch Certificate is only the top of the iceberg, what we see from much deeper issues... and those are the hard ones to tackle, particularly in countries that have a lot of areas that requires a high level of attention and support at least equal to fisheries compliance.