EU committee to assess Ecuador’s campaign against illegal fishing

Fishing vessels at an unidentified port in Ecuador

Members of parliament from the European Union’s Committee on Fisheries (PECH) will visit Ecuadorian ports and factories and meet with representatives of the sector and national authorities later this week to take stock of the country’s fishing sector and commitments to preventing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

A seven-member PECH delegation will meet the Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries Minister, Julio José Prado, members of the Ecuadorian Parliament and other national authorities, as well as those in the fisheries and aquaculture sector to discuss relevant measures in the wake of the country receiving a “Yellow Card” notification from the European Commission (EC) in 2019.

The Yellow Card notification indicates that a non-EU country is at risk of being considered “non-cooperating” in combating IUU fishing in adherence to international law. The notification is given if the EC believes a dialogue with the said country has not resolved any identified shortcomings in enforcing fisheries laws.

The EC proposes tailored measures that the non-EU country needs to address by a specified deadline. If the pre-identified country makes progress in line with the proposed measures but more time is needed to conclude the reforms, the Yellow Card status may be extended.

PECH members will also visit Manta International Port Terminal, one of the country’s biggest ports, San Mateo Artisanal Fishing Port, the tuna processing factory Eurofish, and the Fisheries Monitoring Centre. The tuna processing sector in Manta is one of the largest exporters to the EU, hence the committee members’ interest in the processing methods and traceability of catches.

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