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Panama To Crack Down On IUU Tuna Panama, February 28, 13

Panama has announced that it will take drastic measures to curb illegal tuna fishing, after being warned by the European Union last November that it could be “black-listed” for lacking strict rules against IUU fishing practices.
At a recent international workshop to promote sustainable tuna fisheries, Giovanni Lauri, administrator of Panama’s Aquatic Resources Authority, said he regretted that fishermen were not respecting the rules to protect tuna resources. He said they are currently investigating 19 cases of Panamanian-flagged vessels accused of illegal fishing in restricted areas.
Exports of marine products, including fresh and chilled yellowfin tuna, totaled USD 2.5 million at the end of October 2012, which is a 5% decrease over the same period for 2011. Factors that are affecting the declining catches include climate change and overfishing.
One of the main objectives of the International Workshop on Dorado and Tuna Fisheries was to unify both the government and the fishing industry in working to promote and improve tuna management.
At the workshop, it was pointed out that Panama still has no stock assessment for its tuna resources, which is necessary to determine how much fish can be caught at a sustainable level.
In November 2012, the EU started to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, most notably with its decision to issue warnings to eight countries that were deemed to have weak laws against the illegal practices. The governments of Panama, Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu were warned they would be blacklisted – implying trade barriers – if their cooperation did not improve.