Yesterday, I watched with empathy, in the second episode of Al Jazeera programme “Pirate Fishing“, the adventures of the fisheries ministry inspector Victor Kargbo and the reporter Juliana Ruhfus, chasing the Sea Queen/Ocean-3, caught fishing illegally in Sierra Leonean waters. And I was thrilled when they succeeded!
I am ever more convinced and committed that the EU has to play a leading role to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
A lot is already being done: we need to identify the vessels fishing illegally (and we are doing so), so that they can be pursued even if they change name and flag. We have to put pressure on those countries that are reluctant to cooperate, protecting under their flags those who pillage the natural resources of countries that cannot effectively protect them. We need to work with our international partners, as we started doing with the U.S. administration. We have to introduce a new framework for Fisheries Agreements, to assist third countries to build technical and institutional capacity, to work with us ensuring a level playing field.
But all this risks to have a limited impact, if there is no common and shared commitment. This is why my aim is to set up an international catch certification system, which would close major markets to the product of illegal fish and bring to an end to its profit.
Fighting effectively IUU fishing is to be one of the priorities that the EU pursues when it comes to define sustainable development goals, in Brazil, in June, at the Rio+20 conference.