The European Commission’s decision to identify Trinidad and Tobago as a non-cooperating third country in the fight against IUU fishing is based on the persistence of serious shortcomings identified in the 2016 ‘yellow card’ decision.
More specifically, Trinidad and Tobago has not adopted an adequate fisheries legal framework regulating and controlling the activities of national fishing vessel, the fishing activities taking place in waters under national jurisdiction, and the activities of foreign fishing vessels calling to ports in the country. This belongs to Trinidad and Tobago’s international obligations under the law of the sea.
In particular, the legislation in force does not contain necessary provisions as regards the management and control of fishing vessels, neither in waters under national jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago’s nor beyond them. It does not empower the fisheries authorities to conduct fisheries inspections and cannot ensure compliance with applicable regional conservation and management measures.
Finally, it does not ensure an effective implementation of the UN Port States Measures Agreement in respect to third countries’ fishing vessels.
The situation compromises an effective control and traceability of the fisheries products caught, landed or transhipped there, leaving the doors open for the entry into the market of fisheries products potentially stemming from IUU fishing.
This Decision does not end the dialogue with the country. The Commission expresses its availability to help Trinidad and Tobago in addressing the identified shortcomings. In the meantime, importation of fishery products from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago will be refused, even when accompanied by catch certificates validated by the national authorities.
The Commission at the same time proposes to the Council of the EU to include Trinidad and Tobago to the list of non-cooperating countries in the fight against IUU fishing.