Consensus on new fisheries agreement
By Anne Eckstein | Monday 13 February 2012
Guinea-Bissau and the European Union came to a consensus, on 12 February, on a new fisheries partnership that authorises EU vessels – mostly French, Spanish and Portuguese – to fish in this country’s territorial waters. The new protocol will run for three years and will replace the current agreement, which expires on 25 June 2012.
The new protocol establishes fishing opportunities for fish (including tuna), cephalopods and shrimp, although the breakdown by species, type of vessel and country has not yet been made public. European vessel owners will have to pay fishing licence (or permit) fees. In exchange, the EU will pay Guinea-Bissau financial compensation of €9.2 million per year, up from the current level of €7.5 million, an amount that includes a contribution of around €3 million to support the country’s fisheries policy.
The negotiations had been under way since March 2011. Guinea-Bissau had hoped to see EU financial compensation increase in the range of €7.5 million and €15 million. The EU objected, due to the increasing presence of Asian pirate vessels and the Guinean authorities’ lack of commitment to supervise their territorial waters. The two parties therefore decided to strengthen the joint scientific committee, whose role is to provide advice and develop fisheries resource management measures. The effort to curb illegal fishing will be stepped up through use of the vessel monitoring system (VMS) and electronic logbooks. The new protocol also includes a human rights clause.