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26 January 2010

EU recognises Philippines as a legal source of tuna

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The European Union has accredited the Philippines as a legal and sustainable source of tuna, reported Philippine Daily Inquirer.

According to Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Malcolm Sarmiento, the Philippines conforms to rules shunning tuna sourced through illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) methods—a deciding factor for the Europeans.

The IUUF rules were implemented on Jan 1, 2010. The Philippines obtained accreditation from the EU on Jan. 13, said another BFAR official.

But Philippine exporters would not suffer from a decline in export revenue because, up until this month, they could still ship stocks “caught prior to the start of IUUF implementation,” Sarmiento said.

Dr. Benedikt Madl, program manager of the EU delegation, earlier explained via e-mail that, under a regulation adopted by the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Sept. 2008, EU importers of processed fish products would have to submit documents that detail their sources of processed fish products.

Among other documents, there must be certification that the fish used as raw material would come from legal and sustainable sources. Philippine tuna stocks—one of the country’s major export products—are covered by this rule.

The documentation must also include authorised signatories who will issue catch certificates. The signatories, all BFAR personnel, have been trained before being granted authorization.

“This will help ensure that both producer and consumer countries can work together to prevent the depletion of fish stocks and ensure the longterm viability of resources,” Madl said.


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