Fiji recently received some great news from the EU; they have just been reinstated on the list of countries allowed to export fish to the EU member states. Fiji was de-listed in 2004 after the Union found that some of the tuna lions from Fiji had mercury in them. In 2007, several people in France became ill after consuming fish that had been imported from Fiji.
Fiji Gains Entry
Now, however, Fiji is back on the list. The EU Ambassador to the Pacific, Wiepke Van Der Goot, advised Fiji to continue upgrading their export facilities and to boost their fishing fleet to stay on the EU list.
At the moment, only two of Fiji’s companies satisfy the EU standards of excellence, as do seven vessels from Fiji. Van Der Goot encouraged Fiji to continue upgrading their facilities and their fleets. As he said, “This result should now encourage Fiji to take full advantage of the possibilities of global sourcing under the Market Access Regulation or – even better – under the interim EPA by notifying the EU about its implementation.”
Excitement for Fiji?
Some in Fiji aren’t, however, so excited about this recent news. The head of the Fiji Fish Company, Graham Southwick, explained that meeting the strict EU standards may not be a worthwhile endeavor for Fiji. He explained that there is a huge list of conditions that Fiji fisherman must fulfill including upgrading facilities, boats, trucks, etc. He explained that, “At the moment the list seems to be never-ending.”
The EU Ambassador has noted that Europeans certainly love their fish, with an average per capita consumption of 25 kg per year. The EU is actually the world’s main importer of fish.