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Thursday, 02 February 2012

The EU and Gabon: 'time for reflection'

As the previous fishing agreement expired last December and negotiations for a new one faltering, the European Community's fleet may have to withdraw from Gabonese waters. The traditional EU clause on the respect of Human rights, along with the payment of financial compensation for fish catches seem to be the main reasons why Brussels and the Government of Gabon are struggling to reach an agreement.
As Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki stresses, "it is impossible to issue fishing permits to European vessels outside the agreement, even without the protocol". Some MEPs have asked the Commissioner to seek quick solutions to renew the bilateral protocol, as that fishing area is one of the  main fishing ground of the Basque Atlantic Fleet. Damanaki, confesses that negotiations have not made much progress. "Both sides felt that it needed more time for reflection", she acknowledges.
The fisheries agreement offered a compensation of EUR 860,000 to Gabon in exchange for licenses for 24 tuna seiners and 16 surface longliners.Of that total, Spain received 12 licenses for its tuna boats and 13 for its liners; France obtained 12 permits for its tuna purse, and Portugal, three licenses for its longline vessels.

Source: FIS