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Update: Status of IUU nations carded by European Commission

STojf5WtAs part of FishWise’s ongoing efforts to track news related to Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, we are closely monitoring updates to the European Commission’s IUU watch list.

The European Commission issues “red cards” and “yellow cards” to nations that have not taken sufficient action to control IUU activity in their waters or by their flagged vessels.  “Yellow cards” serve as a stern warning to countries that the Commission wants to see time-bound improvement in their anti-IUU governance, while a “red card” can include economic sanctions and trade measures.

There are currently three nations with IUU “red cards”:

  • Sri Lanka

  • Cambodia

  • Guinea

Sri Lanka was carded most recently after four years of dialogue with the European Commission failed to adequately address the Commission’s IUU concerns. Beginning January 14th, 2015 the Commission banned imports of Sri Lankan fisheries products into the EU (see our 1/29/15 blog for details).

The status of nations that are currently “yellow carded” is listed below:

Newly Yellow Carded in December 2014

  • Solomon Islands

  • Tuvalu

  • Saint Kitts and Nevis

  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Granted a six month prolongation in February 2015 for making credible progress

  • The Philippines

  • Papua New Guinea

  • Ghana

Granted a six-month prolongation that expired in January 2015 – current status unclear

  • Curacao

  • South Korea

For further details about the European Commission’s anti-IUU fishing program, please see the Commission’s news page:

NOAA report to Congress names IUU countries

Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published its biannual report to Congress on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. In the report, NOAA identifies six nations engaging in IUU fishing: Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Nicaragua, and Portugal.  

NOAA is interested in IUU fishing because, “IUU fishing and seafood fraud undermine international efforts to sustainably manage and rebuild fisheries, and creates unfair market competition for fishermen playing by the rules, like those in the United States.”(read more here)

The six nations identified in the report have committed a range of IUU fishing violations in the last two years, including fishing in restricted areas, discarding and misreporting catch, and improperly handling entangled sea turtles.

Violations of international conservation and management measures:

  • Columbia

  • Ecuador

  • Nicaragua

  • Portugal

Overfishing of shared stocks and fishing within the U.S. EEZ:

  • Mexico

Undermining conservation measures of a regional fisheries management organization:

  • Nigeria

In the interim period before the 2017 report, NOAA will work with each nation to improve their fisheries management and enforcement. However, if they fail to make sufficient progress toward addressing NOAA’s concerns these countries risk seafood import bans and restricted fishing vessel port privileges.

Encouragingly, all but three of the ten nations identified in the 2013 report took sufficient action to avoid repeat appearances on NOAA’s IUU list by adopting new laws, sanctioning violators, and/or improving monitoring and enforcement. However, despite addressing NOAA’s 2013 concerns, Columbia, Ecuador and Mexico were re-identified in the 2015 report due to recent IUU activity.

The report also listed five countries “of interest”: Belize, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, and Spain.

FishWise’s Ashley Greenley Selected for Prestigious Fellowship

FWStaffHeadshots 071014-21 forwebsiteExiting News from FishWise! Project Manager Ashley Greenley has been selected for the Conservation Alliance’s first inaugural fellowship program! With support from the Packard Foundation, the fellowship is designed to support emerging leaders in the sustainable seafood sector by developing critical skills needed for collective leadership.

The fellowship consists of two workshops (one in Baja, Mexico and one in Portland, OR) that are designed to explore collective leadership and how modern day movements engage networks of people to achieve success. In addition, the fellows will design and execute a group project that addresses a key issue in the sustainable seafood movement. The outcomes and insights gained from this first inaugural program will also create a path for future leadership fellows in the Conservation Alliance.

The fellowship starts next week and will run through April. Stay tuned for updates!

Safeway and Fair Trade USA Launch the World’s First Fair Trade Certified™ Seafood

OAKLAND and PLEASANTON, CA (February 19, 2015) – Today Safeway and nonprofit organization Fair Trade USA announce a new partnership to launch Fair Trade Certified™ seafood into the North American market. Beginning with wild-capture tuna from small-scale fishermen in Indonesia, this program is the first of its kind to address both social and environmental responsibility in fishing communities across the globe.  The world’s first Fair Trade fish will debut in Safeway stores in their Northern California, Portland and Seattle Division in March. As additional supply becomes available, the tuna will be introduced in other operating areas.

After four years of research and consultation with leading industry experts and nonprofits around the world, Fair Trade USA has expanded the number of Fair Trade Certified products available by launching the Fair Trade Fisheries program.  Its goal is to build resilient livelihoods in impoverished coastal communities, improve working and living conditions, increase supply and demand for responsibly-sourced seafood, and enhance environmental stewardship.

“Fair Trade’s holistic approach has an important role to play in sustaining healthy fishing communities and oceans for generations to come.” said Maya Spaull, Director of New Category Innovation at Fair Trade USA, “and we’re thrilled that Safeway shoppers will be the first to help create lasting change through their everyday seafood purchases.”

Similar to other well-known Fair Trade Certified products, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, flowers, produce and apparel, the Fisheries program requires fishermen to source and trade according to rigorous, independently audited standards. These standards help to protect fundamental human rights, prevent forced and child labor, establish safe working conditions, regulate work hours and benefits, and enable responsible resource management. This is especially important in an industry with a long history of labor abuse.

Fair Trade is also helping to foster community collaboration among previously isolated groups of fishermen. For every Fair Trade Certified tuna sold, fisherman receive an additional Community Development Premium—10 percent of the dock-side price—which they can collectively invest in much-needed community projects like education and healthcare.

The first certified tuna products, imported by Anova Food LLC and packed under the Natural Blue™ brand, will come from four associations representing 120 small-scale fishermen in the Indonesian Maluku island chain. Using single-hook handlines attached to handmade kites, the fishermen locate and catch large adult yellowfin tuna from their small boats. They plan to use part of their first Fair Trade Community Development Premiums to purchase compasses to help them navigate their way home through thick fog.

“Safeway recognizes its responsibility to help protect our oceans in an effort to maintain the availability of seafood for future generations and the health of our planet,” said Buster Houston, Group Director of Seafood at Albertsons  Safeway, “and this unique offering, beginning with frozen tuna steaks and burgers has the added benefit of being a Fair Trade Certified product.”

In 2011, Safeway set a progressive, industry-leading goal for their fresh and frozen seafood to be responsibly caught or farmed, or from sources making credible improvements.  They are on track to accomplish the goal by the end of 2015.  

“The partnership with Fair Trade fits well into our overarching sustainability strategy and 2015 seafood goal.  We are pleased to add the tuna products to the other Fair Trade Certified products offered by Safeway such as O Organics™ coffee and pineapples from Costa Rica.” said Chris Ratto, Director of Sustainability at Albertsons Safeway.


About Fair Trade USA:

Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable livelihoods for farmers, workers, and fishermen, protects fragile ecosystems, and builds strong, transparent supply chains through independent, third-party certification. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ label signifies that rigorous standards have been met in the production, trade and promotion of Fair Trade products from over 70 countries across the globe. Recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also provides capacity-building programs at origin and educates consumers about the power of their purchase. for more information.

Special thanks to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for their generous funding of the Fair Trade Fisheries program, and to Anova’s Fishing & Living and Masyarakat Dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) for all their hard work in helping the fishery achieve certification.


Teena Massingill, Director of Corporate Public Affairs
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Fair Trade USA
Jenna Larson, Senior Manager, Communications
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Best choice rating for farmed salmon means new offerings from partner Hy-Vee

hv logo blank backgroundFor the first time, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has given salmon farmed in freshwater net pens a Green “Best Choice” rating. As a result, Hy-Vee is now featuring this delicious Responsible Choice New Zealand farmed salmon.

In New Zealand, salmon farms do not have the same environmental impacts as salmon farms in other regions of the world, such as British Columbia, Chile, Norway and Scotland. This is due to several factors including differences in chemical use, pollution and risk from escapes.

To date, New Zealand salmon farms have never experienced a disease outbreak and therefore have not required treatment with antibiotics, pesticides or other chemicals commonly used in other major salmon farming regions. In addition, pollution from salmon farms in New Zealand is minimal, partly due to the small scale of the industry. For example, salmon production in Norway is currently 100 times greater than current production in New Zealand.

Although the salmon are not native to New Zealand, they have been successfully established in the region as a result of government hatchery programs that release salmon into the wild to stock recreational fisheries.

Hy-Vee’s Mt. Cook Alpine salmon is farmed in a freshwater lake in the Southern New Zealand Alps. The farm uses no antibiotics, vaccines, growth hormones or any other chemicals. The farm maintains low stocking densities that keep pollution outflow to a minimum. The swiftly flowing water requires the salmon to swim constantly, producing rich flavor and high quality.

Next time you’re standing in front of your local Hy-Vee store’s seafood counter, look for fish labeled Responsible Choice New Zealand farmed salmon.