Libyan tuna catchers on track to be dubbed "illegal"
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Thread: Libyan tuna catchers on track to be dubbed "illegal"

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    Default Libyan tuna catchers on track to be dubbed "illegal"

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...qillegalq.html

    Wednesday, 18 May 2011 10:40

    BLUEFIN tuna caught by the Libyan fleet will be “well on track” to be deemed illegal by the ICCAT Compliance Committee, as potentially non-compliant with ICCAT conservation and management measures.

    This has been made clear by EU fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki in a letter to EU Ministers in the wake of her call on Monday for all EU Member States to take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance by their vessels during the main fishing season for bluefin tuna, which started on May 15.

    May 15 to June 15 marks the period where large trawlers (purse seiners) are allowed to fish for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic

    But today the European Commision said the Commissioner had sent a letter to EU Ministers pointing out that the Libyan fishing and inspection plans for their tuna catching have not been endorsed by the Compliance Committee of ICCAT, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, which is responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas.

    She goes on :

    “Due to the initial voluntary suspension of its fishery by the Libyan authorities, no mail vote by the Commission took place to suspend the 2011 Libyan fishing for bluefin tuna. This suspension was later on withdrawn by the Libyan authorities and a recent communication exchange between ICCAT and representatives of the Libyan authorities makes clear that the Libyan purse seine fleet intends to engage in fishing activities for bluefin tuna during the forthcoming campaign.

    “However, on account of the passing of the deadline for participation in the 2011 Regional Observer Programme and the potential security risks to observers, the ICCAT Executive Secretary has confirmed that no Regional Observers will be deployed on Libyan vessels.

    “On this basis, bluefin tuna caught by the Libyan fleet will be well on track to be deemed illegal by the ICCAT Compliance Committee, as potentially non-compliance with ICCAT conservation and management measures

    “I therefore urged EU Ministers to monitor the fishing activities of these vessels, as well as the activities of their national operators with those vessels, in line with our obligations as Contracting Party to ICCAT.

    “In particular, obligations arising from ICCAT Recommendations and from EU law prohibit domestic trade, landing, imports, exports, placing in cages for farming, re-exports and transhipments of bluefin tuna species that are not accompanied by accurate, complete and validated documentation.

    “Finally, given that the Commission did not receive by the March 1 deadline information on any private trade arrangements between its nationals and any other ICCAT Contracting Party, the Commission will consider that no private trade arrangement involving EU nationals and another ICCAT Contracting party will be authorised in 2011, and thus that no EU vessel will fish in the Libyan fishing zone.

    “This issue -and the impact that unauthorised fishing activity and trade in 2011- could have high importance with regards to the recovery plan for bluefin tuna.

    “In addition, I stand ready to consider the possibility of complementary actions that could be triggered through the IUU Regulation.”

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