Transparency in fishing

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Last April 17 ANABAC coordinated a workshop on the issue of Transparency in Fishing held at BEC with the awesome support of the Basque Government and SINAVAL-EUROFISHING EXHIBITION to which the Spanish Minister of Environment, Food and Agriculture, the Spanish Fishing Confederation, CEPESCA, the Executive Secretary of Long Distance Regional Advisory Council for European Fisheries (LDRAC) and NGO, Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) attended as speakers.

Within this workshop various initiatives in favor of Transparency in Fishing were presented by several institutions and administrations. On behalf of the Spanish Administration, Deputy Director General, José Luís Gonzalez Sanchez, stated that not only does the Spanish Administration have one of the most controlled fishing fleets in the world but this Administration is implementing in a very rigorous way the European Legislation against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing activities (IUU). However, he remarked that the said law is not implemented in the same way by the other European countries, either due to the lack of will or due to the lack of qualification of the inspectors, and so on. Therefore, he required the European Union to publish the efficiency report on the Law Against Illegal Fishing in such a way that neither distortions nor unfair treatment, disadvantages and/or discrimination occur on the market.

In turn, LDRAC Executive Secretary said that this Council is an example of total transparency since all the stakeholders (fishermen, institutions, worker's representatives and NGOs) participate in it. He referred to the ongoing works that are being carried out within this Advisory Council to improve Transparency in Fishing in collaboration with other international institutions, e.g. COMHAFAT, asking all the coastal countries to co-operate in order to set up a transparent and harmonized framework of rules and regulations to be fulfilled by the coastal states to get access to such waters.

In turn, CEPESCA Federation's representative, Mr. Javier Garat, stated that the Spanish fishing sector takes on —with effort but with responsibility— the rigorous control set up by the Spanish Administration within the Framework of the European Law Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing activities in favor of transparency. He also highlighted the transparency initiative (TTI) put into practice by the European tuna sector ANABAC/OPAGAC/ORTHONGEL, with specific commitments taken by owners regarding the sustainability and transparency of their activities.

In turn, EJF's representative, Andy Hickman, presented the works this NGO is carrying out in Africa in order to fight against illegal fishing and improve the management and transparency in fishing. On this matter, and in order to improve transparency in the granting of licenses to gain access to the waters of the coastal countries he recommended putting in place an auditing system to monitor the fishing license fees as well as the establishment of a Global Record of fishing vessels and a single identification number for every fishing vessel. On this matter EJF's representative pointed out he is especially interested in the measures undertaken by the Spanish Administration, particularly in the verification and validation of the fishing licenses, with the participation of the private sector. EJF stated that every country registering a ship has to comply with this guideline to regulate their fishing activities.

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