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Indonesian Tuna Exports To EU Need “Sustainability” Certification

The EU requires all fishery imports from Indonesia to be certificated from January 2010 as part of its sustainable fisheries policy, to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The Directorate General for Distribution of Fishery Products said in a published statement Sunday that the certification applies to all fishery products except fish from fresh water farming, aquariums, shellfish, seaweed, scallops, oysters and some other specific items.

“The new regulation *concerning the EU certification requirements*correlates with the EU’s reputation as the best in implementing a high quality of fish in relation to sustainable fisheries,” said spokesperson for the director general, Soen’an H. Poernomo. He was confirming that there would be a new regulatory framework to ensure certification standards could be met.

Soen’an said the new certificate must be filled in by local exporters who already had an “approval number” and details should be filed with competent local authorities to complete the validation process.

“This would mean that all exported fishery products are produced from fishing activities that comply with all existing best practices in fishery management and conservation,” he said.

The certification would also take account of variables such as the period needed for shipment from Indonesia to Europe and how long the fishery products stayed in cold storage during shipment, Soen’an said.

The standards for certification, however, will be less demanding for small scale fishery businesses.

“The European Commission has accepted the simplification of the certification for small scale fishery businesses as proposed by a team from the EU Directorate General for Maritime and Fisheries,” Soen’an said.

The European Commission’s definition of small scale fisheries are based on the following :- fishing with a boat no longer than 12 meters and without using towing gear, or fishing with a boat up to eight meters in length but is equipped with towing gear with a capacity of less than 20 gross tons.

“Hence all small scale fishermen does not have to fill in the certification form. This simplification will be translated into the implementing rules to be issued by the European Commission in July,” he said.

Any violation of certification requirements would result in a notification from the European Commission to local authorities. Should no further steps be taken by the local authorities, the Commission would list the related exporter in the EC -IUU Vessel List (of illegal, unreported or unregulated suppliers).

All shipments from companies so listed would be automatically rejected from entering the 27 nation EU.

Any exporting countries that disregarded the notification would be listed in the “non-cooperating countries” category, which would result in a trading ban of all fishery products from that country.

“It could also result in the termination of fishery products trade cooperation between the European Union and the country,” he said.

The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries targets 9 percent growth in the value of fish products to be exported this year, amounting to US$2.8 billion. This target is slower than the growth from 2007 to 2008.

The US, EU and Japan are still the biggest importers of Indonesian fishery products, taking between them a total of 65 to 70 percent of all Indonesian exports, followed by East Asia (Taiwan, Korea, China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia) contributing a total of about 24 percent.

Indonesia’s main fisheries products are shrimps and tuna fish. Last year, shrimp exports contributed $1.2 billion or almost 50 percent out of the value of total fisheries exports, which reached $2.56 billion.