There is some good news coming out the European Commission tonight. Viewers may recall that in June this year, the EC imposed restrictions on Belize and other countries for not doing enough to combat illegal fishing activities even after government passed a new High Seas Fishing Act. After having showed improvements in their fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, today Belize was officially taken off the Red List, which is a list of countries deemed non-cooperative in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing) and the importance of each country’s role in ocean governance and sustainable fisheries is highlighted. Representatives of Belize, Fiji and the Pacific Community explain in the following video why the EU measures have been beneficial to strengthen the fight against illegal fishing in their waters.
“We first had to recognize that it was not the European Union that is trying to bully a third world nation so much as they were trying to help us to bring our level of compliance with international regulations, up to that international standard that is acceptable, Belize has a long distance and it is often difficult to find the right people to put the right measures in place however the nature of International High Seas Fisheries is such that your fleet must be monitored remotely and you need to put the mechanism in place that will ensure check and balances and to ensure the compliance of your fleet. The EU regulation has been viewed as a measure to enhance national capacity and resources and that is the experience that we ought to had particular countries will have to view from that angle as a partner in fighting IOU because the bulk of the fishing takes place in the Pacific along countries so it would be in our interest to be able to work with the EU to put in measures and to be able to assist countries, small countries to be able to manage fishing it will be now easier but of course we would need to have some support from the EU in terms of funding and capacity building.”
Meanwhile, Oceana Belize has committed to supporting the Government’s efforts to support the EU goal of Sustainability, accountability and Progress. Those are the themes being emphasized by the world’s biggest fish importer, the European Union, as it continues to drive towards a global goal of the sustainable use of the oceans and collaboration in address the major threats confronting marine environments.
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