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Cambodia complicit in illegal fishing: EU

Cambodia complicit in illegal fishing: EU

After issuing a formal warning a year ago, the European Commission yesterday proposed that European Union member countries ban fish imports from Cambodia, saying the country has failed to take action on illegal fishing.

A spokesperson at the press department of the European Commission said yesterday that foreign fishing vessels were illegally posing as Cambodian after easily obtaining the country’s national flag. Though still bound by international law, imposters were fishing unpoliced by Cambodian authorities.

“Cambodia would facilitate illegal fishing by lending its flag to vessels from other countries,” the spokesperson said.

Nao Thuok, director-general of the Fisheries Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, said he was unaware of a proposed ban from the European Commission but said that due to stringent standards Cambodia did not export to the EU.

Despite zero EU exports, the European Commission spokesmen said vessels bearing the Cambodian flag in any international waters would be banned from selling fish to the EU if the proposal were adopted.

A decision on the proposal by the 28 members of the EU is expected in January. The ban would begin in February.

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