European Commission Proposes the Lifting of Ban on Importation of Belize Fisheries Products into the European Union
Belmopan. October 16, 2014. The European Commission has announced that it has proposed to the EU Council of Ministers that Belize be removed from the list of ‘non-cooperating third countries’ in the international fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This decision was taken after Belize demonstrated that it had addressed its structural problems and showed its real commitment to tackling illegal fishing. The Commission notes that since Belize was identified as a ‘non-cooperating third country’ in March 2014, it has reformed its legal framework and has adopted a new set of rules for inspection, control and monitoring of vessels.
In particular, the Commission took into account the following measures adopted by Belize to strengthen the management regime for its high seas fishing fleet:
(a) Enactment of a new High Seas Fishing Act;
(b) Adoption of revised Regulations for the licensing, sanctioning, monitoring and surveillance of its high seas fishing fleet.
(c) Adoption of a National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing;
(d) Implementation of a National Observer Program for its high seas fishing fleet;
(e) Upgrade of its satellite based vessel monitoring system and the adoption of a new electronic catch reporting system;
The EU Council of Ministers is expected to meet on the 23 – 24 October, 2014 to consider the recommendations of the European Commission. After the Commission’s recommendation is formally adopted by the Council, all sanctions against Belize will be lifted which means that all fisheries products will again be allowed to be imported in the European Union and the ban on fishing in the waters of Belize by EU flagged vessels will also be lifted.
The Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow has welcomed the decision of the European Commission and has reaffirmed his commitment to continue to take all necessary measures to eradicate the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
AND BELIZE HIGH SEAS FISHERIES UNIT