Data loading...

“Companies Make A Difference In The Fight Against IUU, Not Countries”

IUU fishing is continuing to raise concerns surrounding the future of the global tuna fishery, and many believe industry authorities are failing to put a stop to this activity. Illegal, unreported and unregulated tuna fishing poses one of the major challenges facing the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.

Juan Luis Alonso Escuris - Operations Director, Jealsa Rianxeira

Industry advisors told Intrafish that ineffective implementation of regulations is due to the complexity of the global supply chain. This means that illegal operators sometimes find their way into the EU market.

In a presentation given at the recent Vigo Tuna Conference in Spain, Juan Luis Alonso Escuris, operations director of Spanish canning and seafood giant Jealsa Rianxeira, outlined that as much as 35 percent of the world’s tuna was caught under the umbrella of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

In 2009, Papua New Guinea (PNG) signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with Europe. According to the Intrafish article, in which Alonso was interviewed, this meant tuna that was caught in PNG waters could benefit from duty free access to the EU market. This signing meant that routes were available for operators who are taking part in illegal tuna fishing activity to sell their fish to Europe.

Alonso told Intrafish: “PNG is selling its fishing licenses to countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, in exchange of guarantees that they set up processing plants in PNG. There are 12 projects to set up plants in PNG, four of them already operating.”

Alonso stressed that he believes “It is companies who can make a difference in the fight against IUU fishing, not countries.”

According to Intrafish, to construct a fully functional plant in PNG, however, is difficult. It reports that the country has poor infrastructure, and commonly buildings have no regular access to running water or electricity.

The Norwegian based website makes the allegation that illegal tuna fishing companies are often seen to avoid issues by fishing in PNG waters and only processing part of the finished products within its borders. It also claims that, by importing commodities from other sources, it can be easy to sell tuna products, which may have come from IUU origins in the EU market.

Allegations like these have been heard coming from the European tuna processing sector ever since the time that PNG gained the “global sourcing” status, however never these allegations have been substantiated with any evidence, and imports from PNG have been fully complying with EU non-IUU import regulations.