Photo by Linda Robert on Unsplash
The EU Commission has decided to identify Cameroon as a non-cooperating country in the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, giving it a so-called ‘red card’.
From now onwards EU Member States shall be able to refuse the importation of fishery products from Cameroon even when accompanied by catch certificates validated by the national authorities.
The decision is based on the EU’s IUU Regulation, which ensures that only legally caught fisheries products can access the EU market.
The listing of Cameroon is based on the persistence of serious shortcomings that were outlined in a notification adopted in February 2021 which already warned of the possibility to identify Cameroon as a non-cooperating country.
In particular, it is based on the failure of Cameroonian authorities to ensure adequate control over the national fishing fleet and to take necessary corrective measures for the cessation and prevention of IUU fishing activities. Cameroon has continued registering fishing vessels that operate outside its waters, including an IUU fishing vessel, while there is a lack of monitoring of their activities.
IUU fishing is one of the most serious threats to the sustainable exploitation of living aquatic resources. IUU fishing jeopardises the foundation of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the EU’s efforts at international level to promote better ocean governance. IUU fishing also represents a major hazard to the marine environment and marine biodiversity.
By pursuing the Green Deal as well as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, sea and marine resource, the Commission says it applies a zero-tolerance approach towards IUU fishing.
Among its actions, the Commission cooperates with third countries in view of improving fisheries governance and ensuring that all States abide by their international obligations.
The Commission will continue its dialogue with Cameroonian authorities to help the country address the identified shortcomings.
The Commission will now propose to the Council of the EU to add Cameroon to the list of non-cooperating countries.