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Parliamentary questions
9 April 2010
Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission

The EC Regulation 1005/2008(1) to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a transparent and non discriminatory instrument which applies to all vessels engaged in the commercial exploitation of fishery resources, and seeks to prevent, deter and eliminate all trade of fishery products into the Union deriving from IUU fishing in all waters, and the involvement of EU nationals in IUU activities conducted under any flag. EU operators are also subject to equivalent measures, as EU vessels will also provide a catch certificate validated by the competent Member States prior to exporting to third countries their fish and fishery products if requested by the third country or if products are re-exported back into the EU. The EU is asking flag States to comply with the laws and regulations adopted by third countries, as well as international conservation and management measures, such as Unclos (United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and RFMOs (Regional Fisheries Management Organisations).

EC Regulation 1005/2008 does therefore not introduce any discriminatory treatment against imported products. As a result, regardless of the fact that the regulation can certainly be considered necessary to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources (i.e. fish stocks) and would comply with the conditions of Article XX(g) (General exceptions) of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the EU believes that the IUU Regulation is fully compatible with its World Trade Organisation (WTO) obligations and therefore does not need any justification as an exception to GATT disciplines.

Furthermore, the EU has tried to ensure that the introduction of the new requirements under the IUU Regulation are the least trade disruptive possible. The EU has engaged in an early and wide campaign of explanation of the new requirements through bilateral meetings and regional seminars with third countries so as to ensure that those countries would be in a position to timely adapt their practices to the new situation before the entry into force of the new requirements.

The IUU Regulation cannot be understood as implying ‘extraterritorial’ application of EU measures. The IUU Regulation is only aimed at ensuring that fish products which enter the EU market comply with both international commitments and the national standards adopted by the exporting country in this area and by no means imposes new standards in an ‘extraterritorial’ manner.

(1)Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1936/2001 and (EC) No 601/2004 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 1093/94 and (EC) No 1447/1999, OJ L 286, 29.10.2008.

OJ C 138 E, 07/05/2011
Dernière mise à jour: 19 avril 2010Avis juridique