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Brussels Accused Of Not Being Strict Enough On Ghana European Union, September 11, 13

Ghana was under fire during discussions in the Vigo Tuna Conference yesterday, as Spanish officials argued that the African country was non-compliant with fishing and export regulations to the European Union.

Carlos Dominguez, Secretary General of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture accused the EU of having a lack of firmness in cases like Ghana, a country that according to him “violates the basic rules of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT).” Ghana’s tuna fleet was accused of fishing in closed areas and taking part in at-sea transshipments since 2010.

Cesar Deben, Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) took the brunt of the allegations at the conference, as Dominguez stressed that the EU had not been strict enough on the crucial problem of Ghana and IUU fishing.

Defending the EU’s actions, Deben stressed that sanctions were imposed in Ghana worth over USD 4.5 million. He agreed that the EU has to make a guarantee with these countries to address the issue of illegal fishing by their vessels.

Dominguez explained that there was a lack of communication and information between EU member states, and while DG MARE was aware that tuna worth around USD 13 million exported from Ghana had been detained at the UK border, other member states were not.

He advocated for a system in which the tuna exporting nation must prove that the shipped material fits all legal requirements, while all EU member states should commit to communication when imports from foreign countries are identified as illegal.

Deben outlined that he understood the EU needed to make a commitment to strengthening the cooperation between member states and push forward a single certification system for all countries in order to ensure EU imports fit legal requirements. The EU spokesman also acknowledged that progress needs to be made without delay.