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Ban on fish exports to the EU stays in place


Tuna processing for exports. (Photo: CBI)

Click on the flag for more information about Sri LankaSRI LANKA
Friday, February 06, 2015, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
The European Union (EU) has confirmed that the fishing export ban imposed to Sri Lanka will remain in force.
Following a series of meetings carried out last week in Brussels between the EU and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, it was agreed that the country should strengthen its management and control of its fisheries sector.
“Once the European Commission is satisfied that these measures have been taken by Sri Lanka, it would propose the lifting of the fisheries trade measures to the EU Members States. Until then the fisheries ban stays in place,” the EU said.
The talks between Sri Lanka and the EU on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing started on December 2010. As no progress was seen in this regard, the EC decided to formally urge the government to address the issue in November 2012.
After four years of discussion with no tangible results, on 14 October 2014 the EC banned Sri Lanka’s fisheries exports to the EU, however awarding Sri Lanka three more months to rectify the situation.
As the measures taken were not enough, the ban entered into force on 14 January.
The estimated global value of IUU fishing is around EUR 10 billion annually. Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally per year, which means 15 per cent of world catches, the EU informed.
Sri Lanka is the second biggest exporter of fresh and chilled swordfish and tuna to the EU countries.
The measure imposed by the European bloc to Sri Lanka could account for a loss of about USD 100 million annually, considering that in 2013, fish exports to that market generated USD 94 million, and this year they were projected to increase, said the executive director of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), Dr. Saman Kelegama.
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