European Commission's Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fisheries Policy Unit on Tuesday, commended Maldives' efforts to combat illegal fisheries while concluding its fourth mission since 2015 to Maldives.
The IUU delegation visited the country on a two-day mission on February 23, to assess the implementation of the EU "Regulation to deter Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing" and to provide feedback on ways to strengthen enforcement of the regulation in Maldives.
During the technical evaluation, the delegation noted the efforts made by the Maldivian administration to bolster fisheries frameworks and collect baseline data on fish populations. In addition, the EU team recognized the administration's priority to enforce the regulations on a policy level, including the ratification of the Maldives Fisheries Bill in 2019.
Moreover, the EU touched further upon the progress of the 'Fisheries Information System' and over the IUU's main component - the catch certification scheme where only certain products are made legal to be imported or exported to the EU.
Under the 'National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (NPOA-IUU)' a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture along with Maldives Customs Service to train officers to inspect both foreign fishing vessels and reefer vessels exporting Maldivian fish products abroad. The agreement will also facilitate regular exchange of information between the two stakeholders.
The MoU is intended to ensure the issuance of inward and outward clearance for foreign fishing vessels docking in the country as well as the inspection procedure for such vessels adhere to international guidelines.
The EU IUU Regulation is aimed to prevent illegally caught products from ending up on EU markets.
Since its formulation in 2010, the IUU Commission has investigated over 200 vessels from 27 countries, imposing sanctions on over 50 vessels and fining a total of EUR 8 million on illegal fishing activities.