EU warns Solomons over illegal fishing
The European Union has warned Solomon Islands it needs to crack down on illegal fishing or it will impose a ban on the country's tuna exports.
PAVLOS EVANGELIDIS: We here at the delegation are not very fond of the term 'yellow carding'. I think it is a colloquial term that has been adopted, but I think it sounds too penalising for what it actually means. We have pre-identified the Solomon Islands as a country that can do more to co-operate with the European Union, to do more in curbing its illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This is all that it means. At the moment there is no consequence in trade or the amount of tuna that is imported into the European Union. What it essentially means is that the European Union has established a formal dialogue now with the Solomon Islands to help it progress. It is in the mutual benefits of the European Union and the Solomon Islands to have it progress and curb illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
AMELIA LANGFORD: So what would the European Union like to see the Solomon Islands Government implement?
PE: Well there are a number of issues that have already been identified by our services in Brussels who are dealing with fisheries issues in Europe and outside, but it is things like exchange of information between fishing vessels and the countries. It is also certifying the catches. So the Solomon Islands may need to do some effort in strengthening the certification mechanisms in the country and there is also an issue about the sustainability of the stocks. Solomon Islands is a party to the Nauru Agreement. We would like a little more effort into the data that is communicated between fishing vessels and the Parties to the Nauru Agreement.
AL: You say you want dialogue but issuing a warning - that seems a bit contradictory.
PE: Yeah I understand what you mean. It is not a stick this thing, it really a way of formalising a dialogue without the European Commission, as a body, would not have a mandate to talk on behalf of all the European Union member states with a third country.This is a formality but the pre-identification on its own means very little other than allowing the European Commission to negotiate with the country, and identify the key issues the country will need to address and this is exactly what has been happening now.
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