Brussels (dpa) – The European Commission formally warned Thailand on Tuesday that it has six months to step up the fight against illegal fishing or risk EU sanctions.
About 15 per cent of world fish catches are thought to be illegal, unreported or unregulated, accounting annually for up to 26 million tons of fish worth 10 billion euros (10.8 billion dollars).
The European Union’s executive body issued Thailand with a “yellow card” warning. Should the situation not improve, the commission said it could ban fisheries imports from the country, the world’s third-largest exporter of fishery products.
“I urge Thailand to join the EU in the fight for sustainable fisheries,” said EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella. “Failure to take strong action against illegal fishing will carry consequences.
Meanwhile, the commission lifted previous warnings against South Korea and the Philippines, as both countries had carried out “appropriate reforms … and are now equipped to tackle illegal fishing.”
“Both Korea and the Philippines have taken responsible action,” Vella said.
The EU currently has bans in place on fisheries products caught by vessels from Guinea, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Belize was removed from the blacklist in December, after carrying out the necessary reforms.
The commission is also working with Ghana, Curacao, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, all of whom have been warned that they are not doing enough to curb illegal fishing.