24 Jul 2018

Tuvalu's fisheries 'Yellow Card' over the top, says fisheries advisor

7:12 pm on 24 July 2018

An international fisheries advisor says that the recently lifted "Yellow Card" imposed on Tuvalu should never have been there in the first place.

The European Union (EU) this week lifted the warning it had imposed on Tuvalu over its fisheries management since 2014.

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Photo: supplied

The EU said Tuvalu has amended fishing laws, complied with other state obligations and brought in sanctions.

It said it was also updated its fisheries management system and adopted regional conservation measures.

The yellow card was an official warning to EU trading partners in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.


Tuna Photo: Mark Smith, Greenpeace

But international fisheries advisor Franciso Blaha said considering how small Tuvalu's fishing fleet is - with only one vessel, the Yellow Card was seen as being over the top.

He said it required a huge effort from the Tuvalu government, the Forum Fisheries Agency and others to get regulations up to the required standard.

"It was good for Tuvalu because it is a small country. Pretty much the smallest country with a fleet that managed to go through the system with assistance. But it was a very, very easy target for the European Union - a soft target. And it really shouldn't have been there," Francisco Blaha said.

Mr Blaha said that while the system had been a catalyst for changes in the region, its approach to Tuvalu was seen as being over the top.

"So it was a bit of a bully attitude for many people who were actually working in the system."

Francisco Blaha said while Pacific countries had been targeted more than any from other regions in the world under the system, the European Union should be targeting the larger fishing nations of the world.

"The country with the biggest impact on international fisheries, by far, is China, but the European Union is not dialoguing with them."