From the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Philippines notes with satisfaction the European Union’s (EU) lifting of the warning or “yellow card” in recognition of the significant progress made by the country in addressing Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF).
Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario welcomed the EU’s decision as it will ensure the continued exports to the EU of Philippine fish and fisheries products worth PhP900 million per year. The country’s fishing industry employs 1.4 million fisherfolk directly and another 3 million in fishing-related industries.
Secretary del Rosario further stated, “The ‘green card’ highlights EU’s recognition of the Philippines’ exemplary record of compliance with international conventions to manage and conserve living marine resources, such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Food and Agriculture (FAO) Conventions, and Regional Fishing and Management Organization (RFMO) Conventions.”
The Philippines, through the actions it has taken since it was given a “yellow card” by the EU, has manifested serious commitment to be an ally in the fight to deter, eliminate, and prevent IUU Fishing and has reaffirmed its position as an advocate of sustainable fisheries management and conservation measures.
In June 2014, the EU handed down a “yellow card” to the Philippines. This was when the Philippines and EU began a formal dialogue on IUUF to address perceived shortcomings in its legal, administrative, and technical frameworks for ensuring sustainable fisheries.
Philippine efforts included the implementation of Executive Order No. 154 on the National Plan of Action on IUUF signed by President Aquino in December 2013 and the passage of Republic Act No. 10654 (Amendments to the Fisheries Act) in March 2015, which included stringent sanctions and effective measures to address all aspects of IUU Fishing. The Philippines also entered into bilateral cooperation with countries in the Pacific to ensure traceability of catches made by Philippine long-distance fleets in waters outside of Philippine jurisdiction.