11 Jun 2014

PNG yellow carded by Europe over fish

2:21 pm on 11 June 2014

Papua New Guinea is a step closer to a ban on its fish exports to Europe.

The European Commission has given Papua New Guinea and the Philippines a "yellow card" or stern warning because they cannot guarantee their catch has been caught legally.

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Photo: RNZ

The Euopean Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Maria Damanaki, has urged PNG and the Philippines to take action so the second step of an outirght ban is not necessary.

"We have been talking to the Philippines and Papua New Guinea for almost two years. We are convinced that these two countries exercise no real control on what goes on in their waters and also on their ships. So they cannot guarantee their fish is caught respecting local and international rules."

Ms Damanaki says the commission will tailor a plan of action to help the countries as its goal is to co-operate rather than to institute a ban.

Fiji and Vanuatu are among eleven other countries warned by the European Commission since 2012.

The commission says most of those countries are making progress but Guinea, Belize and Cambodia were banned from trading fish into the European Union in March this year.