With Aid from the FAO, Ukraine Launches Project to Match European Union Standards for Fish Products

Although Ukraine is not a member of the European Union, its status as a priority partner of the Union has prompted the nation to take measures toward alignment of fishery and fish product quality standards. Ukraine will be receiving support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to complete this objective.

Many factors played a part in Ukraine’s decision to improve its fishery policies. One important factor is the recent passage of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, an agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.

Another primary reason for the desire to align policies is simply geographical: Ukraine and the countries of the European Union are in the same region, and therefore benefit from sharing safety policies. A final reason for introducing the project is the need for higher standards in food safety, which was identified by authorities in 2016.

The project, which is titled, “Coordinating the national food safety system for fishery products in Ukraine to move towards harmonization with the EU: 2017-2019”, has many specific objectives.

These objectives include workshops for food safety inspectors and laboratory inspectors in the fish industry, training of authorities to enforce and pass on safety measures, and continued fish inspections.

Funding will come from the FAO Office located in Ukraine, which itself is funded by Norway. A meeting was recently held to discuss implementing the project. Both the European Union Delegation to Ukraine and the Embassy of Norway attended this meeting, among many Ukraine organizations.

This improvement project for the Ukraine follows a recent emphasis on improvement of European Union fish standards as a whole. The Union has vowed to buckle down on – recently problematic – illegal and substandard fishing practices, especially those that involve breaking rules on labor rights and ecological sustainability.

In early October of 2017, the European Union hosted the Our Ocean Conference, which brought to light many of these issues that must be addressed. In 2015, a new law aimed at regulating both European Union fishing vessels outside of EU boundaries and foreign vessels within EU boundaries was proposed at this conference. This law will soon be taking effect in 2018.

The Ukraine’s initiative to improve fishing standards and food safety comes at a very good time for its cooperation with the European Union’s new law enactment.

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