By Alexis R. Milan
The European Union (EU)’s ban on fishery products and services from Belize has affected several international vessels and forced them to start finding alternatives to the Belizean flag.
Three tuna vessels belonging to Thai Union Frozen Products and one belonging to Spanish tuna catcher, Pevasa, have been forced to find another flag for the vessels in their fleet or they will not be allowed to conduct business with EU countries.
According to a statement by Thai Union, the company is still in the process of seeking an alternative to the Belizean flag for their vessels but despite the inconvenience the ban has not impacted its business.
Pevasa also indicated that the ban has not affected its business even though the company has not found an alternative.
Pevasa was also critical of the EU’s decision to single out small countries such as Belize saying the ban was “completely unfair and disproportionate.”
Earlier in July Belizean representatives attended a fisheries improvement summit in London held by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU).
At the summit representatives from Belize said they were hopeful that the EU sanction could be reversed by the end of the year since Belize is committed to following international regulations.
Belize, along with Cambodia and Guinea, has been blacklisted by the EU and banned from exporting fishery products to EU countries for insufficiently acting against illegal fishing back in March.