Philippines set to bring in tougher laws after EU ban warning over marine and fisheries products.

The Philippines senate made a swift introduction of a new bill against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, in order to avoid the European Union’s (EU) ban on the country’s fishing and marine products. The bill is pending approval on October 27, 2014, after which tougher fines and more administrative penalties will be imposed on defaulters by 2014 end.

Philippines senate fisheries code EU ban

In a 2012 audit report on the Philippines, the EU had stated that the country’s existing regulations did not adequately address IUU fishing and lacked disincentives. Following this assessment, the country was yellow-tagged by the EU, failure to act on which would lead to the country being blacklisted in the market.

In the absence of any amendments, the Philippines could be put in EU’s red flag category, where it would be labeled as a noncooperative nation. An EU ban would directly affect the economic growth of both fishing industry and the country, as local fishing industry accounts for 2.1 percent of the gross domestic product, as per a 2012 study from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

The bill seeks to impose a fine of 2.5 million-10 million Pesos, or twice the value of the catch, whichever is higher, on large-scale commercial IUU fishing. The fines for medium-scale IUU fishing range from 250,000 Pesos to 2 million Pesos, and for small-scale IUU fishing, from 50,000 pesos to 200,000 pesos.

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