Development of Eco-Labeling Schemes in the Fish Sector Vanuatu & the Pacific Region

Posted on: March 03, 2015


In November 2014 the ACP EU TBT Programme together with the Pacific region launched a new project to assess the real potentials of the adoption of ecolabelling schemes in the fish sector in the Pacific region and thus provide advice and support to governmental and private sector institutions. The project, implemented by COFREPECHE, resulted from an original proposal submitted by the Government of Vanuatu through its Embassy in Brussels, aims to support the capacities of government and industry groups on aspects of the WTO TBT Agreement and in particular on how ecolabelling can assist them comply with international standards and facilitate market access of fish products.

After 3 months of implementation, the project Final Workshop took place in Port Vila from the 23rd until the 26th of February. The Workshop conveyed 44 participants from 5 different Pacific islands (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu). Additionally to the TBT Programme, represented by Ms Claudia Schiattarella, regional organisations such as: Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFs), Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) and Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) took also part to the event.

During the opening session, Hon David Tosul Butuiso (M.P), Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Bio-Security of Vanuatu, expressed his gratitude to the TBT Programme for the support provided targeting the Pacific’s fish sector. The Minister reminded one of the key issues affecting trade in the fish sector: the EU’s ‘yellow cards’ that Vanuatu received in 2012 in the fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. For Vanuatu, the yellow card was a major wakeup call and represent a key challenge to address both in terms of time and money.

Thanks to the different presentations (i.e: Ecolabels In Aquaculture, Traceability chain of custody, “Green” production systems: reducing footprint and use of inputs, Scope for small scale coastal fisheries MSC certification) and key interventions, the fundamental elements of eco-labeling schemes and the opportunities for trade in the region were thorough presented.  At the end, the workshop also served to share knowledge and information across the region on the opportunities of eco-labeling in the fishery and aquaculture sectors. 

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