Last night the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted to support the European Commission's proposal for a regulation to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) particularly endorsed the proposal that EU-flagged vessels be included in the new legislation. They also supported clearly defined, harmonized and dissuasive sanctions and the establishment of a catch certificate to allow better and more effective traceability of illegal fish products entering the EU market.
Whether or not to include EU vessels in this new regulation has been one of the most controversial issues in the Council, the EU institution charged with approving regulations.
Uta Bellion, Director of the EU Marine Programme of the Pew Environment Group, said: "We applaud the Fisheries Committee's commitment to end illegal fishing. By supporting the Commission's far reaching proposal members of the European Parliament are sending a strong signal to the Council that it needs to be serious about dealing with pirate fishing vessels and the devastation they cause before it is too late. Some valuable fish stocks including blue fin tuna in the Mediterranean and cod in the Baltic Sea are on the brink of collapse and IUU fishing is partly to blame for this!"
Pew Environment Group calls upon MEPs to endorse the Fisheries Committee conclusions in their plenary session on June 4-5, and for the Council to heed this advice when they finally vote on the Commission's proposal at their meeting on June 23-24.