13 October 2020
Environmental lawyers at ClientEarth have reacted to a new study on EU fisheries control from the European Parliament, saying that key failures identified such as transparency, traceability and enforcement may also apply to imports, and are preventing effective fisheries control across the EU.
Reacting to the study, ClientEarth’s Sustainable Seafood Lead Quentin Marchais said: “While the Parliament’s report highlights the need to strengthen the control of fisheries within the EU, it is crucial that environmental accountability extends to imports into the bloc as well.
“The EU is the largest importer of seafood in the world, and as such has a responsibility to improve controls on fishing imports to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. But to improve traceability and accountability, Member States need to move away from paper-based monitoring of catch certificates to the European Commission’s EU-wide electronic “CATCH” system for fish imports.
“If EU countries are serious about protecting this common good, then Member States and businesses should start using the CATCH system, which is already available to them on a voluntary basis. Monitoring fishing goes beyond just what the EU catches in its nets, but also what it allows onto its plates.”
The current revision of the EU fisheries control system provides a timely opportunity for the EU to introduce a robust and efficient system like the CATCH scheme long called for by fisheries stakeholders and to make the use of CATCH mandatory. Ahead of the publication of the new Control Regulation, ClientEarth and other NGOs such as the EU IUU Coalition are calling for Member States and companies to start using CATCH as soon as possible.
ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.