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EU blacklists Sri Lanka over illegal fishing

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The European Union (EU) has blacklisted Sri Lanka for failing to combat illegal fishing, officially banning imports of fisheries products from Sri Lanka-flagged vessels into the EU, foreign media has reported.

Officials had stated yesterday (January 26) that the decision to put Sri Lanka on the list was taken by EU fisheries ministers at their regular talks in Brussels. Sri Lanka is the second biggest exporter of swordfish and tuna into the EU.

The bloc said it only accepts stocks caught at sustainable levels. The EU already warned Sri Lanka about breaking international rules on illegal fishing in November 2012.

The move comes despite Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera flying to Brussels in a last minute bid to convince the EU to postpone the ban on Sri Lanka's fish exports to EU countries for at least six months. 

Foreign media reports also stated that the EU slapped similar restrictions on Belize in March 2014 and removed them in December after the Latin American country adopted new legislation to combat illegal fishing and showed signs that it was respecting its international obligations.

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