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The European Commission passed a decision notifying the Government of Ecuador of the possibility of being identified as a non-cooperating third country in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The Commission has identified at least 24 longliners greater than 23 meters length overall fishing for species covered by the IATTC Convention within the IATTC Convention Area and which were not on the IATTC Regional Vessel Register. It also identified two unregistered squid-jiggers engaged in fishing activities in the SPRFMO Convention area, which although known to the authorities were not sanctioned. Ecuadorean authorities were not able to identify whether Ecuadorian vessels fishing in waters under jurisdiction of third countries were doing so legally. At least one vessel with a problematic compliance history had been registered in Ecuador and in 2017 escaped to the control of the authorities. As a result, the EU accuses Ecuador of failing to uphold its responsibilities as a flag State to prevent its fleet from engaging in IUU activities in high seas or waters of third countries. Ecuador will have to address the issues identified if it is to avoid being identified by the Commission as a non-cooperating third country in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (a red card) which could result in trade and other fishery related sanctions under the EU's IUU Fishing Regulation 1005/2008.
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