EU declines to remove warning


EU-cutThe European Union said that engagement with SriLanka on its warning against Sri Lanka’s illegal fishing practices is “substantive” and”continuing,” but declined to comment on its eventual outcome, a top official said hereon Thursday.

The EU issued warnings to Sri Lanka and several other countries over illegal,unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in November 2012.

Head of delegation of the EU to Sri Lanka Bernard Savage told Xinhua in an interviewthat the issue had garnered significant attention and continued to be a point ofengagement between the two stakeholders.

“There was a list of countries and not specifically Sri Lanka and even before thatauthorities in Brussels were in discussion with authorities here and that continues. Andindeed we hope that the remaining issues will be resolved and that any concerns thatwe have regards unregulated and illegal fishing be resolved. I know that ministryofficials are putting in considerable effort and my EU colleagues are doing what theycan to maintain discussions with Sri Lanka,” he said.

Savage declined to give specifics of what the outcome would be, preferring to say thata decision would be taken within the next few months.

“I do not want to contradict the minister, but what I can say is that the discussions aresubstantive and continuing and we certainly hope that we can resolve any outstandingissues. The EU is expected to announce its decision within the next few months.”

Sri Lanka’s government is confident that the EU warning on illegal fishing in the islandwill be retracted soon paving the way for German and Chinese investors to double fishexport income to around half a billion U.S. dollars.

Extensive lobbying has been done since the warning was issued in November 2012 withthe EU officials indicating that it will withdraw its “yellow card” in June, Fisheries andAquatic Resources Development Minister Rajitha Senaratne told media on Wednesday. (Xinhua)