New EU fish law means China must step up oversight

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BEIJING, Nov 9 (Reuters) European Union efforts to crack down on illegal fishing mean that major fish processing countries such as China must strengthen certification to prove the sources of their products are legally caught, the EU said today.

Cod and other protected fish have ended up in China and other countries for processing, hindering efforts to make fisheries more sustainable and creating unfair competition for legal fishing vessels, said Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs.

''This is why we encourage our partners like China and all the countries from whom we import fish products, to see to it that they have the proper mechanism in place so that they would be able to certify that that fish has at its source fish which is legally caught,'' Borg told a news conference.

Borg was speaking in Beijing, where he met with officials from the Agriculture Ministry, the State Oceanic Administration and the Foreign Ministry for talks aimed at strengthening cooperation on managing fisheries and fighting pirate fishing.

He said he also explained a new EU draft law that cracks down on illegal fishing in European waters with stiff fines and the blacklisting of boats and countries.

The law calls for a scheme in which the import of all fish and fisheries products into the EU would require certification to prove the catch has been legally caught. If vessels break the rules, they may find EU ports closed to them.

Worldwide, illegal fishing is estimated to be worth 10 billion euros a year.

''We need to work closely together in order to eliminate the pirate fishing that takes place in international waters,'' Borg said of the EU and China.

He is also to travel to the coastal city of Qingdao and then Shanghai, where he will visit port facilities and an aquaculture wholesale market.


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