The European Commission today revised its rating of third countries it lists as failing to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The Commission issued a yellow card to Thailand for its fishing practices but rescinded yellow cards previously issued to South Korea and the Philippines. Commenting on the decision, Green fisheries spokesperson Linnéa Engström said:
"The EU's listing system for non-compliant states failing to take steps to combat illegal fishing is an important tool in the global fight for sustainable fisheries. With concerns about Thailand's approach to illegal fishing, it is welcome that the Commission has issued it a yellow card. If it continues to fail to act, the Commission must then follow-up with further measures foreseen under the IUU rules: blacklisting, with trade sanctions on fisheries products and other measures.
"The decision to let South Korea and the Philippines off the hook and rescind their yellow cards is premature and a mistake. Serious concerns remain about the South Korean fishing fleet and the role of the Korean authorities in clamping down on illegal fishing in particular. While South Korea has introduced new legislation, this has been criticised as insufficient and cosmetic, while implementation remains open to question. <xml></xml>Other countries are revising their fisheries legislation in light of EU concerns and this move to release South Korea sets a bad example for the standards that the EU requires. It seems the Commission is more concerned about maintaining good relations with Korea as a trading partner than using its position to influence global illegal fisheries. It is a shame that trade policy trumps efforts to address the dramatic impact of illegal fishing on precarious marine species around the globe."