New fisheries agreement reduces quotas for EU vessels
By Anne Eckstein | Tuesday 05 June 2012
The European Commission and the Republic of Kiribati initialled, on 3 June in Nadi, Fiji, a new protocol to their fisheries partnership agreement. The protocol replaces the agreement signed in 2006 for six years, which will expire on 16 September. It reduces fishing opportunities for European tuna vessels operating in Kiribati’s territorial waters and sets the EU’s financial compensation for these fishing rights. The text still has to be approved by the European Parliament and formally ratified in Council (co-decision procedure) and by the government of Kiribati.
Fishing opportunities under the new protocol include a reference tonnage of 15,000 tonnes for three years (5,000 year), compared with 6,400 tonnes per year under the existing agreement. This volume corresponds to fishing authorisation for ten vessels - four purse seiners and six longliners – flying the flags of Spain, France and Portugal, compared with 16 vessels at present. The Commission notes that the fishing opportunities were calculated on the basis of scientific recommendations. The EU’s financial contribution is set at €1.325 million, of which €350,000 earmarked exclusively for sectoral policy support to help the Republic of Kiribati promote responsible and sustainable fishing in its waters.
Fisheries partnership agreements, adds the Commission, are important for the EU’s bilateral relations with Pacific countries, for regional development in this zone and for strengthening the EU’s position in regional fisheries organisations, such as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).