This deal guarantees the continuation of Europe’s fishing operations at the expiry of the current protocol on 31 December 2014. It also comes at a timely moment for Madagascar which after several years of political instability held successful presidential elections last December and saw a new government in power right before the negotiation.
The EU budget contribution for this agreement is approximately €6 million euros over the period of four years during which fishing opportunities are provided to 40 purse seiners and 54 longliners to fish in the waters of Madagascar, targeting tuna and associated species. The new protocol foresees a rebalancing of the cost of access from the EU budget to the economic operators, including an increase of the price paid per ton as well as of the advance payments made by ship-owners. Part of the EU contribution (€700 000 a year compared to €550 000 a year in the previous protocol) will be made available to support the sustainable management of fisheries resources by the Madagasy authorities and the development of local fishing and processing sectors.
The new protocol promotes a more sustainable fisheries management by defining measures for a better and more regular follow-up of fishing activities and for stricter control and preservation of vulnerable species. It spells out a number of technical improvements related to monitoring and declaring catches, including the introduction of an electronic reporting system, embarking of observers and a clear definition of the fishing zone. The protective measures taken for sharks prohibit the fishing of the most vulnerable species and introduce management measures for the authorised ones.
The protocol respects the principles of the new Common Fisheries Policy and respects the country’s strategy for managing its fisheries. It will need the agreement of the European Council and Parliament before entering into force at the beginning of next year.