EU to ban fish caught by vessels flagged in Sri Lanka

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EU to ban fish caught by Sri Lanka
Colombo, Oct 15: The European Union (EU) has decided to ban the import of fisheries products caught by vessels flagged in Sri Lanka from entering the EU market after three months time from now, the EU office said here in a statement Tuesday.

The European Commission had in November 2012 sent a warning to Sri Lanka saying, they were not complying with international rules on illegal fishing and their control systems were inadequate.

According to the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, two years later, not much has changed and the same problems are still there and even getting worse, Xinhua reported.

Sri Lanka is now authorising huge vessels to fish in the Indian Ocean without marine GPS (VMS) and that this renders control totally impossible, she added.

Damanaki said Sri Lanka is the second biggest exporter of fresh and chilled swordfish and tuna to the EU and in those circumstances the EU cannot tolerate not to know whether the fish they import into the EU was caught sustainably or not. EU citizens have the right to know what lands on their plate.

"So today, the commission goes to the next level: we are formally identifying Sri Lanka in the fight against illegal fishing. Fisheries products caught by vessels flagged in Sri Lanka will not be able to enter the EU market after three months time from now."

"The council will, by that time, have the possibility to confirm and extend the depth and scope of the trade measures," she added.

IANS

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