Europe blacklists Belize for illegal unreported unregulated fishing
Belize has been blacklisted by the European Union among eight countries that are considered non-cooperative in the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The list also includes Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, the Togolese Republic and the Republic of Vanuatu. On April twenty-fourth the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee adopted a measure that will allow the publication of countries and the vessels that are involved in IUU. The reason for the listing is that this type of fishing depletes fish stocks, destroys marine habitats, distorts competition, puts honest fishers at an unfair disadvantage while weakening coastal communities. This decision is a first of its kind, but does not entail any trade-affecting measures, but the EU could ban the sale of fisheries products to the EU if offending countries do not make adjustments. A decision of that sort could also damage the economy of coastal communities and fishing cooperatives that depend upon the sea for their livelihood. News Five spoke to James Azueta from the Fisheries Department and he said that there is a process that Belize and the other countries are participating in. Azueta says that a mission went earlier in the year to Brussels where an exchange of information occurred. Azueta assures News Five that their office had not been informed of the blacklisting; however, but there is another official delegation that will head to Brussels later in the year.