EU’s Long Distance Advisory Council (LDAC) says something we knew, but is good that they say it / by Francisco Blaha

The LDAC is an EU fisheries body representing stakeholders of both the distant water fishing sector and other groups of interest, whose mission is to provide advice to the European institutions and EU member states on matters including the international market for fishing products.

illustration for a EU IUU CCS manual I did for Indonesia in 2014

illustration for a EU IUU CCS manual I did for Indonesia in 2014

They have recently published an Opinion on improving implementation of the EU IUU Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1005/2008), that reflects many of the issues a few of us working outside the EU have been talking about for quite a few years now. Back in 2015 I was heavily censured by an EU official who opposed my nomination to a FAO expert group for what I wrote here, here, it builds on one published in 2016 by some of the LDAC members that failed to impress me.

Beyond the technicalities of these contributions, I'm happy they exist. Because they bring good criticism to a CDS that could have the potential to be truly influential, yet fails to live up to its full potential due to some lethal flaws that have nothing to do with technical capabilities, but rather design and politics. Also, because they criticise from a full European context.

LDAC’s recommendations to the Commission to improve implementation of the IUU Regulation include the following:

  • establish a centralised electronic database at EU level for the CC scheme as a matter of priority by latest mid-2017;
  • establish risk analysis criteria to verify those CCs with high risk;
  • establish a minimum import verification %, using variables such as risk analysis depending on the country of origin or track record of the operator, amongst others;
  • ensure improved and harmonised reporting of activities by member states in their biennial compliance reports under the Regulation; and
  • undertake audit missions to member states to assess compliance of their procedures with the Regulation’s requirements regarding the CC scheme.

In some way they also revindicate the opinion that myself, and friends like Gilles Hosch and Carlos Palin have been arguing since 2011 at least.

I never been against the EU IUU CCS (in fact it has kept me very busy!) it is just that it always had fatal flaws and the potential for them to be fixed relatively easy, and somehow yet it never happened. But i still hopefull :-) (i'm always are!)