Written Question: Social and environmental sustainability of South Korean catches authorised for export to the EU

(Source: European Parliament)

Date Submitted: 4 May 2021

Question for written answer E-002398/2021

to the Commission

Rule 138

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (Renew)

Subject: Social and environmental sustainability of South Korean catches authorised for export to the EU   

An investigation published recently by two NGOs – Advocates for Public Interest Law and the Environmental Justice Foundation – shows that crews of migrants working in the South Korean long-distance fleet are repeatedly abused and ill-treated by the companies that hire them. The investigation focused on 40 fishing vessels, 29 of which were licensed to export their catches to the European Union. A survey of former crew members confirmed that at least a quarter of them had suffered physical abuse, and nearly three quarters – 68% – had been verbally abused. Nearly half of the workers surveyed worked days of 18 hours or more. Almost all had their passports confiscated while at sea, and salaries were withheld at the start of their contract. The workers themselves told of illegal fishing practices such as fishing in unauthorised areas or fishing that affected protected marine mammals.

1. Is the Commission aware of the findings of this investigation and does it know the names of the vessels involved?

2. What steps is the Commission intending to take to ensure that activities like these do not compete with the socially and environmentally sustainable catches landed by the EU fleet?

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