BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) — The EU on Wednesday warned Ecuador over illegal fishing, saying it could impose a ban on fish imports from the country if it does take more action to address the situation.
"We invite the Ecuadoran authorities to step up their efforts and implement the necessary reforms to fight against IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing," the commissioner for fishing, Karmenu Vella, said in a statement.
The "yellow card" issued by the European Commission puts Ecuador on notice to improve its enforcement over illegal fishing and to ensure "adequate control" over its fish-processing plants, especially those that export to the EU.
The warning is serious for the small South American nation. Its fish exports to the EU bring in $1.4 billion a year and account for nearly half its total exports to Europe, based on 2018 figures from the Commission.
Brussels will look at the situation again in six months, during which Quito has the opportunity to start dialogue with a view to complying with the EU's rules.
According to the European Commission, at least 15% of fishing hauls worldwide are from illegal fishing, accounting for between 11 million and 26 million tons.
© Agence France-Presse
by Toni CERDÀ
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