Sri Lanka faces EU fish export ban

Updated 15 October 2014

Sri Lanka faces EU fish export ban

BRUSSELS: The European Union moved to ban Sri Lanka from selling its seafood to the massive EU market in a bid to stop illegal fishing by the second biggest exporter to the bloc.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, meanwhile proposed to scrap a ban on fish from Belize and lifted a threat to bar seafood from Panama, Fiji, Togo and Vanuatu.
“The other side of the coin today is Sri Lanka,” Maria Damanaki, commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, told reporters.
“We tried to work with them, but they were not cooperative. I can say the contrary happened,” Damanaki said.
“Sri Lanka is now authorizing huge vessels to fish in the Indian Ocean without marine GPS. That means that control is impossible,” she said.
After conducting a four-year investigation and issuing a warning in 2012, the commission said Sri Lanka had failed to make “credible progress” toward fighting illegal fishing, including creating a scheme to punish high-seas violators.
The ban on Sri Lankan products will take effect in mid-January, so as not to interfere with current contracts, the commission said.
The EU last year imported 7,400 tons of products such as fresh and chilled swordfish, tuna and tuna-like species from Sri Lanka worth about 74 million euros ($94 million).
The commission said EU member states will over the next few months also impose bans on fishing in Sri Lankan waters by EU-flagged vessels as well as on joint fishing operations.
Damanaki said Sri Lanka was the second largest exporter to the EU, which is the world’s most valuable fish market.
Belize saw its products banned by the EU in March for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, along with those from Cambodia and Guinea, which remain on the EU blacklist.
Once the European Council confirms Belize’s removal from the blacklist, the commission said, the EU can resume importing fisheries products from the Central American country and EU-flagged ships can return to fish in its waters.
Illegal fishing is estimated to account for 15 percent of world catches, or some 10 billion euros a year, and the decisions by the EU, which imports 65 percent of its seafood, won swift praise from environmental groups.
Saskia Richartz, the EU oceans policy director for Greenpeace, said: “Where diplomatic efforts fail, the EU is right to ban the imports of products from countries like Sri Lanka that fail to manage their fisheries properly.”

Five reasons to add acai berries to your diet

Updated 03 August 2020

Five reasons to add acai berries to your diet

DUBAI: Learn all about the superfoods that will help you live a longer and healthier life. Devinder Bains, personal trainer and nutrition coach at Fit Squad DXB, fills you in…

The acai bowl is more than just an Instagram craze — the acai berry is so high in nutrients that it even beats super fruits such as blueberries and cranberries.

Acai berries don’t last long, however, so unless you live near the Amazon, you will need to buy acai pulp frozen, in powder form or as oil for the skin. And be careful when adding extras to your acai bowl — avoid sugar-rich granola and brownies to reap the numerous health benefits listed below.

Anti-aging benefits

There is a strong connection between acai and anti-aging due to the abundance of cell-repairing antioxidants and the high levels of vitamins A, B, C and E, as well as various minerals that contribute to keeping the skin moisturised and wrinkles at bay. As well as adding acai to your diet, look into skincare products made with acai oil for a double boost.

There is a strong connection between acai and anti-aging. Shutterstock

Lowers bad cholesterol

Acai berries contain plant sterols, which are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains and prevent the body from absorbing dietary cholesterol. A small study on overweight participants who were fed acai pulp every day for 30 days found lower total cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and more controlled blood sugar levels. Another study showed an increase in good cholesterol in women. Antioxidants in acai are also beneficial for diabetes sufferers and those with high blood pressure.

Improved brain function

A 2013 study found that as well as being rich in antioxidants that protect the brain from cell damage, acai berry extract can protect against the build-up of proteins called beta-amyloids, which clog the brain’s pathways and are involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Acai has also been positively linked to the treatment of bipolar disorder.

The acai berry is rich in antioxidants that protect the brain from cell damage. Shutterstock

Helps prevent and fight cancer

In a study of 300 foods, acai berries came top for their high levels of antioxidants, with half a cup containing around 75,000 antioxidant units. Among these are pigments called anthocyanin that not only give acai berries their purple color, but may also help fight cancer cells. In a 2006 study, researchers found that concentrated acai juice triggered a self-destruct response in 86 percent of leukemia cells tested.

Improves digestion

As well as being rich in fiber, which promotes a healthy gut, researchers found that polyphenols in acai can survive most of the digestive process and make it as far as the colon. This means they can promote good gut bacteria, which improves overall digestive health. The acai berry is also said to help in cleansing the digestive system.