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Mar 25, 2014

EU blacklists Belize from international fisheries

On Monday, the Council of the European Union formally imposed a sanction on Belize, as well as two other countries, for failure to comply with international regulations in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.  The ban is a hard blow being dealt to non-compliant third countries, including Cambodia, Guinea and Belize, and its impact will be felt primarily in the export market.  Following the release, the Ministry of Finance, which took over the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, IMMARBE, in June of last year, issued a statement responding to the EU’s decision.  According to the release, the resolution to have Belize blacklisted was based on obsolete information and fails to take into consideration measures taken by Belize over the past six months to bolster its high seas fishing management.  News Five spoke today with Robert Robinson, Deputy Director of High Seas Fisheries at IMMARBE.


Robert Robinson, Deputy Director, High Seas Fisheries, IMMARBE

“It effectively meant that the EU would have published in their official journal the three countries, namely: Belize, Cambodia and Guinea as non-cooperating third countries and it means that fishery experts as it pertains to the EU-IUU Regulation would be banned from being imported into the European Union.”


Isani Cayetano

Robert Robinson

“Now, Belizeans on a whole are sort of worrisome that the implications of this particular sanction or ban is far-reaching, in terms of what can be imported to the European Union, in terms of fisheries.  Can you give us a list of specific items that would be affected per se?”


Robert Robinson

“The IUU Regulation of the European Union outlines a number of fishery products that will be banned.  I can say particularly that aquaculture products are not banned from this list. However, there is an extensive list of fishery product that does appear in the IUU Regulation and these are the products that will be affected by this sanction.”


Isani Cayetano

“I understand that over the past six months or so there has been an effort made to comply with the regulations, if I may, and these appear to be completely overlooked by this particular ban.  Can you speak to us on what those efforts were or are and what is the way forward now to try to get de-listed from that EU sanction?”


Robert Robinson

“Well, as you rightly mentioned, Belize has made several key advancements in rectifying this problem.  In the onset when the problem was first identified to us there was some delay in moving quickly to adopt the necessary regulation.  But since the government takeover of IMMARBE last June, we were able to move very quickly in adopting a new high seas fisheries regulation which sets in place the legal framework that is necessary to monitor control and manage our high seas fishing fleet which was the primary concern of the European Union.  We have also adopted a new deterrent sanctions regulation, a new fishing regulation.  We have drafted a national plan of action for IUU fishing and we are currently in the process of drafting a monitoring control and surveillance regulation.  These are some of the key issues that are identified by the European Union and once we have been able to implement these measures effectively then the commission will make a recommendation to the European Council for de-listing of Belize.”


It is anticipated that Belize can be de-listed from the register of banned countries by September, once it complies fully to with the requirements of IUU regulations.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “EU blacklists Belize from international fisheries”

  1. Teddy Steinway says:

    Belize authorities acted too slowly.
    They don’t respect deadlines – at all.

  2. Cruz says:

    Are those commercial fishing boats Belizean owned??????

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