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Posted: February 9th, 2023

Addressing illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in Cambodia: the impact of the EU’s IUU regulation

Addressing illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in Cambodia: the impact of the EU’s IUU regulation
Illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing is a major threat to the world’s marine resources, contributing to overfishing, habitat degradation, and the loss of biodiversity. In order to combat IUU fishing, the international community has established a range of legal instruments, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (The Compliance Agreement) 1993, the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA) 1995, the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU), the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 14).

In addition to international instruments, regional instruments such as Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the European Union (EU) have also been established to combat IUU fishing.

Cambodia, a country in Southeast Asia, is facing significant challenges with IUU fishing. The country’s marine and inland capture fisheries are vulnerable to IUU fishing, driven by economic, institutional, and social factors. This has led to negative impacts on Cambodia’s economy, environment, and society. To address the issue, Cambodia has established a national legal and regulatory framework, including the Law on Fisheries 2006 and the National Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Marine Fishing (NPOA-IUU) 2020-2024.

The European Union (EU) has also taken measures to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing through its IUU regulation. The EU is a major market state, and its regulation has been established to ensure that only legal fish products are imported into the EU. The regulation involves a carding process, through which the EU assesses the efforts of a country in combating IUU fishing. If a country is found to be lacking in its efforts, it can receive a yellow or red card, with the red card leading to restrictions on access to the EU market. In the case of Cambodia, the EU issued a red card in 2019, indicating that Cambodia was not doing enough to combat IUU fishing.

In response to the red card, Cambodia has taken steps to address the issue, including the implementation of measures outlined in the NPOA-IUU and NPCI-MF, increased cooperation with regional and international partners, and increased engagement with the EU. Nevertheless, the challenge of IUU fishing in Cambodia remains significant, and sustained efforts are needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of Cambodia’s marine resources.
Chapter 5: The Impact of EU’s IUU Regulation on Cambodia’s Fisheries Industry

5.1. Initial response to EU’s IUU regulation
The EU’s IUU regulation had an immediate impact on Cambodia’s fisheries industry. The Cambodian government was compelled to take action to address the issues raised by the EU, and this led to an improvement in the management of the country’s fisheries resources. The government strengthened its legal and regulatory framework, and increased its efforts to combat IUU fishing. The EU’s IUU regulation also increased awareness of the issue of IUU fishing, and this helped to mobilize public opinion against the practice.

5.2. Positive Impact of EU’s IUU Regulation
The EU’s IUU regulation has had a positive impact on Cambodia’s fisheries industry in several ways. First, the regulation has helped to improve the management of the country’s fisheries resources. The government has increased its efforts to combat IUU fishing, and this has led to a reduction in the number of illegal fishing vessels operating in Cambodia’s waters. As a result, the country’s fisheries resources have become more sustainable, and this has helped to support the livelihoods of local communities.

Second, the EU’s IUU regulation has helped to increase transparency and accountability in the Cambodian fisheries sector. The regulation has helped to create a level playing field for all fishing vessels operating in the country’s waters. This has helped to ensure that fishing vessels are operating within the legal framework, and that they are not engaging in activities that are harmful to the environment or to local communities.

Third, the EU’s IUU regulation has helped to increase the competitiveness of Cambodia’s fisheries sector. The regulation has helped to improve the quality of the country’s seafood products, and this has made them more attractive to international buyers. This has helped to increase demand for Cambodian seafood products, and this has created new market opportunities for local fishers and seafood processors.

5.3. Challenges in Implementing EU’s IUU Regulation
Despite the positive impact of the EU’s IUU regulation, there have also been several challenges in implementing the regulation in Cambodia. First, the country’s capacity to enforce the regulation has been limited. The government has faced difficulties in implementing the regulation due to a lack of resources and expertise, and this has led to difficulties in enforcing the regulation.

Second, there has been a lack of coordination among the different agencies responsible for enforcing the regulation. The different agencies have different mandates and responsibilities, and this has led to a lack of coordination and cooperation. This has made it difficult for the government to effectively implement the regulation.

Finally, there has been a lack of public awareness about the EU’s IUU regulation. This has made it difficult for the government to mobilize public opinion in support of the regulation, and this has limited the government’s ability to effectively implement the regulation.

Chapter 6: Conclusion
In conclusion, the EU’s IUU regulation has had a positive impact on Cambodia’s fisheries industry. The regulation has helped to improve the management of the country’s fisheries resources, and this has led to a reduction in the number of illegal fishing vessels operating in Cambodia’s waters. The regulation has also helped to increase transparency and accountability in the Cambodian fisheries sector, and this has helped to increase the competitiveness of the country’s seafood products. However, there have also been several challenges in implementing the regulation in Cambodia, including a lack of capacity to enforce the regulation, a lack of coordination among the different agencies responsible for enforcing the regulation, and a lack of public awareness about the regulation.

Bibliography
FAO. (2021). FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Retrieved from https://www.fao.org/3/i5855

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