The European Commission said that after a lengthy dialogue process Sri Lanka has now successfully reformed its fisheries governance system.
Sri Lanka was issued with a yellow card in 2012 and listed by the Council in February 2015. This was the result of a long standing failure to address serious shortcomings in the implementation of control measures, a lack of deterrent sanctions, as well as the failure to comply with international and regional fisheries rules.
Sri Lanka has subsequently amended its legal framework, strengthened sanctions and improved its fleet control. With today’s decision Sri Lanka joins the growing list of countries (Ghana, Papua New Guinea, Korea, the Philippines, Fiji, Belize, Panama, Togo and Vanuatu) that have reformed their systems, following action by the EU.
“By today it (Sri Lanka) has amended its legal framework, strengthened sanctions and improved its fleet control,” the European Commission said.
Sri Lanka was previously the second biggest exporter of fresh and chilled swordfish and tuna to the EU with exports worth EUR 74 million in 2013. Today’s proposal will be discussed by the European Union (EU) Fisheries Council at the next available opportunity.
Today’s Decisions are based on the EU’s ‘IUU Regulation’, which entered into force in 2010. This key instrument in the fight against illegal fishing ensures that only fisheries products that have been certified as legal can access the EU market.
Since November 2012 the Commission has been in formal dialogue with several countries (pre-identification or “yellow card”), which have been warned of the need to take strong action to fight IUU fishing. In case of significant progress, the Commission can end the dialogue (lifting the pre-identification status or “green card”). (Colombo Gazette)