EU OKs tougher penalties for illegal fishing

Oct 20, 2009 By RAF CASERT , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- The European Union agreed Tuesday on tougher penalties to counter illegal fishing, considered a major cause of the depletion of fish stocks in European waters, particularly of prized cod and bluefin tuna.

The penalties include fishing boats being banned after four infarctions and fines being imposed on member states failing to enforce controls.

Illegal fishing has been blamed for dwindling fish populations over the past two decades, and the EU has been unable to crack down on the practice. Outdated regulations have failed to deter fishermen from landing protected fish illegally at a high profit.

Under the new rules agreed Tuesday, ships will be monitored by satellites and logs surveyed electronically to make sure that they do not overfish and bring in illegal catches.

"A major problem with overfishing is that certain fishers intent on beating the system can do so almost unnoticed," said EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg. "Now, it has become much more difficult."

Fines and penalties used to be so insignificant that fishermen would simply include them in the cost of the operation and still make a profit if they got caught.

"With the new control regulation the dissuasive element is significantly strengthened so it is no longer so easy for fishers to carry out illegal activities," Borg said.

Under the new rules, recreational fishermen landing threatened fish such as cod in the North Sea and bluefin tuna in the will not have their catches included in their nation's catch quotas, but surveillance will be increased to determine what impact their catches have on overall stocks.

The PEW environmental group estimated last year that the cost of illegal fishing to EU member states by 2020 will be euro10 billion ($15 billion) in lost catches, and euro8 billion ($12 billion) of lost fishing stock value.

PEW's Uta Bellion said Tuesday's decision "emphasizes the pressing need to reverse some of the damage done by , such as decreased and fewer fishing jobs." She insisted it should go hand in hand with measures to further cut the EU's bloated fleet, a prime reason for illegal fishing in the first place.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Stanford researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU sets fish quotas for 2007

Dec 22, 2006

The European Union fisheries ministers have set the 2007 limits for fish catches in European waters.

Britain steamed over tuna rules

May 10, 2007

Britain's fisheries minister Ben Bradshaw is calling on the European Union to ban fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea.

Overfishing threatens European bluefin tuna

Nov 07, 2008

Bluefin tuna disappeared from Danish waters in the 1960s. Now the species could become depleted throughout the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean, according to analyses by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Aqua) ...

Greenpeace takes on tuna fishing

Apr 23, 2008

Greenpeace says it confronted a U.S. tuna boat in the South Pacific this week as part of an effort to fight overfishing by commercial fishing fleets.

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

( —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

( —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.