Bilateral agreements with countries outside the EU
The EU has 2 types of fishing agreements with non-EU countries:
- fisheries partnership agreements – the EU gives financial and technical support in exchange for fishing rights, generally with southern partner countries.
- the "northern agreements" – joint management of shared stocks with Norway, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands.
Fisheries partnership agreements
Sustainable fisheries agreements with non-EU countries are negotiated and concluded by the Commission on behalf of the EU. They are intended to allow EU vessels to fish for surplus stocks in that country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in a legally regulated environment.
Tuna agreements – allow EU vessels to pursue migrating tuna stocks as they move along the shores of Africa and through the Indian Ocean.
Mixed agreements – provide access to a wide range of fish stocks in the partner country's exclusive economic zone.
These agreements also focus on resource conservation and environmental sustainability, ensuring that all EU vessels are subject to the same rules of control and transparency.
In return, the EU pays the partner countries a financial contribution composed of 2 distinct parts:
- access rights to the EEZ
- "sectoral" financial support
The sectoral support aims to promote sustainable fisheries development in the partner countries, by strengthening their administrative and scientific capacity through a focus on sustainable fisheries management, monitoring, control and surveillance.
Impact of EU policy reform on the agreements
Part of the reform of EU fisheries policy is intended to:
- improve the scientific knowledge underlying the fishing rights granted under the agreements and provide more information about the overall fishing effort deployed in partner country waters
- strengthen the governance of the agreements, including a clause to protect human rights and gradually increase EU ship-owners' contribution to the access costs.
- better promote sustainable fishing in the partner country waters by making EU sectoral support more targeted and subject to regular monitoring.
EU fishing activities in the North Sea and north-east Atlantic are closely linked to those of our neighbours – Norway, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands. With many of the targeted stocks shared across boundaries, it makes good sense for all 4 parties to coordinate their activities, especially as the different fleets aren’t necessarily interested in the same stocks.
So many of the stocks concerned are jointly managed, and quotas are exchanged to ensure they’re not wasted. Some of these stocks are managed through the intergovernmental North-East Atlantic Fisheries Convention set up to manage fish stocks in the region, while others are managed through agreements between the coastal states.
These agreements are extremely important to a large section of the EU fleet, especially the agreement with Norway, which covers quotas worth over €2bn.
- Guide to EU fisheries policy [2 MB] – see chapter 10 (“Fishing in wider waters - the benefits of partnership”) [99 KB]
- Fact sheet on EU’s northern fisheries agreements [144 KB]
List of fisheries agreements
|Country||Expiry date||Type||EC contribution per year||Earmarked for fisheries policy development|
|Cape Verde||31.8.2014||Tuna||435 000 €||110 000 €|
|Comoros||31.12.2013||Tuna||615 250 €||300 000 €|
|Côte d'Ivoire||30.6.2018||Tuna||680 000 €||257 500 €|
|Gabon||23.7.2016||Tuna||1 350 000 €||450 000 €|
|Gambia||No protocol in force|
|Greenland||31.12.2015||Mixed||15 104 203 €||2 743 041 €|
|Guinea||Agreement and Protocol provisionally applied during 2009 but subsequently withdrawn.|
|Guinea- Bissau||No protocol in force|
|Equatorial Guinea||No protocol in force|
|Kiribati||15.9.2015||Tuna||1 325 000 €||350 000 €|
|Madagascar||31.12.2014||Tuna||1 525 000 €||550 000 €|
|Mauritania||No protocol in force – New protocol (2 years) initialled on 26.07.2012 and under provisional application since its signature on 16.12.2012|
|Mauritius||27.1.2017||Tuna||660 000 €||302 500 €|
|Micronesia||No protocol in force since 25.2.2010|
|Morocco||No protocol in force since 20 December 2011- New (4 years) protocol signed on 18 November 2013. No provisional application – awaiting entry into force|
|Mozambique||31.01.2015||Tuna||980 000 €||460 000 €|
|São Tomé and Principe||12.5.2014||Tuna||682 500 €||227 500 €|
|Senegal||No protocol in force since 1.7.2006|
|Seychelles||17.1.2014||Tuna||5 600 000 € (as from 17.1.2011)||40% (as from 17.1.2011)|
|Solomon Islands||No protocol in force since 9.10.2012|
|Faeroe Islands||2006 - 2012|
|Iceland||2009 - 2015|
|Norway||2009 - 2015|