Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
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A sustainable fishing future at home and abroad

A sustainable fishing future at home and abroad

A new generation of Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) come into force from 2013-2017, and with a new policy comes a new name. The key principle and keyword for these agreements, sustainability, now appears in the title to better reflect their ultimate objective.

It is no coincidence that the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy has brought significant changes in how SFPAs are established and implemented. For the EU the same principles and standards that apply to fleets in European waters should also apply abroad. And when fishing in third-country waters, adequate support must be provided to the local fisheries sector for its sustainable development.

 

For the EU, the same principles and standards that apply to fleets in European waters should also apply abroad.

 

The new agreements are therefore:

  • science-based
  • fair and sustainable
  • governed by enforceable regulations
  • strengthened in their monitoring and control framework
  • fully transparent.

Improved administration is an important aspect of FPA reform. The EU is committed to a deeper analysis of the scientific basis of SFPAs, better evaluation of their progress, and transparency of information.

Strategies for more effective governance are a priority with the new agreements. Better monitoring of EU vessel activities is ensured through the Electronic Recording and Reporting System (ERS), an effective data-gathering tool that records what fishing fleets are catching. The ERS also strengthens the transparency of EU fishing operations in non-EU waters, and facilitates the sharing of information with partner countries, benefitting both parties.

The costs of accessing fishing rights in partner countries’ Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) are being re-balanced. Formerly, the EU financed around two-thirds of the costs, but under the new SFPAs ship owners will cover up to 70% of access fees for tuna agreements.

Catch fees are also being updated to reflect current market values which, given the escalating tuna prices over recent years, is a crucial move. The policies on access rights and catch fees are consistent with equity principles, such as removing hidden subsidies to private companies, and paying a fair price to third countries for their natural resources. Moreover, fisheries products harvested under SFPAs can be traced through the whole supply chain, for accountability and transparency purposes, and for the benefit of the consumer.

A sustainable fishing future at home and abroad - © Dreamstime
A sustainable fishing future at home and abroad - © Dreamstime

 

EU support to local fishing sectors will help to build the scientific, administrative and technical capacity of local partners for the sustainable development of their fisheries.

 

The new SFPAs also separate the EU’s payment for access rights from its financial contributions to the partner country’s fisheries. EU support to local fishing sectors will help to build the scientific, administrative and technical capacity of local partners for the sustainable development of their fisheries. There has been a strengthening in the governance of the agreements, in particular when it comes to human rights. The human rights clause in the new SFPAs is indicative of the EU’s commitment to protect the same principles at home and abroad.

Beyond the focus on sustainability, SFPAs bring significant opportunities and benefits for both parties, which can evolve as the agreements progress.

The EU signed a new six-year Protocol to their FPA with the Seychelles on 10 May 2013 that guarantees the long-term continuity of the most significant tuna agreement for the EU in the Indian Ocean, both in terms of the fishing opportunities it provides the EU fleet, and, in turn, the financial benefits derived by the Seychelles as a result of the EU’s fleet activity in the region.

The new Protocol to the EU-Seychelles FPA, the largest tuna agreement currently in place, allows forty EU purse seiners and longline vessels to fish for tuna and other highly migratory species in the Seychelles EEZ. In return, the EU is paying over EUR 5 million annually for two years, half of which will support the Seychelles fisheries policy. The EU will then pay EUR 5 million annually for the remaining four years, half of which will again be allocated to the local fisheries sector.

Sectoral support funds specialised testing equipment to ensure that Seychelles fisheries products comply with EU food safety regulations and qualify for import. With this agreement, the Seychelles receives a fair income from their own resources, as well as EU assistance for the sustainable and long-term management of their fisheries. For instance, the EU has funded a new quay in Victoria, which allows for large purse seine vessels to land directly at the port. EU funding has also enabled the development of small-scale fish processing units for the use of the semi-industrial longline fleet, and has funded fleet capacity development.

Financial contributions within FPAs are targeted to the specific needs of partner countries. For instance, as part of the renewed EU-Ivory Coast FPA, a number of diverse initiatives have been funded, ranging from the provision of new aquaculture equipment in two operational stations, data collection of catch statistics in the EEZ, training for fishermen, and to the redevelopment of the fisheries ministry after the civil war.

Through these SFPAs the EU will continue the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) and has already provided sectoral support to the Ivory Coast to improve its control infrastructure. EU funding is also earmarked for scientific research in the open seas, the installation of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) equipment and the training of new inspectors.

 

The new generation of FPAs make better use of public money and focus on the real benefits for citizens in Europe and in partner countries.

 

The next steps involve consolidating the new generation of FPAs and enlarging the network of active partnerships.

Built on a solid foundation of equity, sustainability, transparency and good governance, and evolving alongside European fisheries reform, the new generation of FPAs make better use of public money and focus on the real benefits for citizens in Europe and in partner countries. The focus will now be on expanding the number of active partnerships so as to promote internationally the EU’s pro-active stance toward the conservation of marine resources.

 

State of play – EU Fishing Partnership Agreements

  • 20 fisheries agreements
  • 7 dormant agreements (no protocol in place)
  • 12 active FPAs (ongoing protocols)
  • 9 tuna FPAs
  • 2 multi-species FPAs
  • Recently completed negotiations with Morocco (multi-species agreement)
  • New FPAs in the future

 

Full list of Fishing Partnership Agreements

Multi-species agreements

Tuna agreements West Africa

Tuna agreements Indian Ocean

Dormant agreements

Tuna agreements Pacific Ocean

Recently completed negotiations (multi-species agreements)

Greenland

Mauritania

Ivory Coast

Cape Verde

São Tomé and Principe

Gabon

Comoros

Madagascar

Mauritius

Mozambique

Seychelles

Gambia

Guinea

Guinea Bissau

Equatorial Guinea

Micronesia

Senegal

Solomon Islands

Kiribati

 

Morocco

 

 

Past Issues
June  2017 - Issue 75
March  2017 - Issue 74
November 2016 - Issue 73
August 2016 - Issue 72