Oceana supports Spain’s U-turn to fight illegal fishing

The General Secretary for Fisheries, Carlos Domínguez, presented yesterday the advanced made in control over fishing imports.

Press Release Date: May 29, 2013

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Oceana believes that it is crucial that all European States display the same level of commitment in application of Regulations.

Oceana appreciates the political U-turn taken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and the Environment to fight illegal fishing. The General Secretary for Fisheries, Carlos Domínguez, yesterday presented data on control of fishery product imports which show Spain’s leadership in the EU in the application of Community Regulations against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe, applauds the U-turn taken by the Spanish fishing authorities against illegal fishing: “The EU has had strong legal tools for years to prevent illegal fishing to enter Community markets, but laws are mere formalities if there is no political commitment to their application. So we strongly appreciate the new direction taken by the Spanish administration and its commitment in this regard”.

However, the marine conservation organisation has expressed its concern over the data made public by the Spanish Government, by which application of Community regulations is practically non-existent in other EU countries. According to the data provided by the Ministry, in 2012 EU States, including Spain, only rejected 31 imports. These figures are insufficient, taking into account the fact that the EU is one of the main importers of fishery products in the world.

In this respect, Pastor points out that “if these figures are confirmed, the situation is unacceptable. The EU must show full, real commitment to the fight against illegal fishing, which must take the form of strict application of the legislation in all States. Designing legal barriers is useless when Community harbours continue to be gateways for pirate fishing.”