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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

FPAs: No more blind eye, time to walk the talk

Bob Dewar, a former diplomat who has served as High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador to Ethiopia and High Commissioner to Mozambique, has recently published an opinion article where he analyses the history of Europe's external fisheries agreements and gives some recommendations. As he thinks that future deals can lead to a win-win situation if certain policies are put in place, he says that “the time of turning a blind eye is over”.
Following a brief review of the Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPAs) , he stresses that the 2012 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is a good opportunity to do better:  “The Europeans need real reform in their own back yard - dramatically rebuilding stocks, preventing over-capacity, over-fishing and damage to the environment. And the mirror of better behaviour should then be shone abroad, so that African and other developing countries get maximum benefit”.
On the African side of the equation, he calls upon African nations to work out how new Sustainable Fisheries "can boost good governance, food security and poverty reduction". Mr Dewar expresses concerns as the great majority of people in both Europe and Africa fail to remember the sea when it comes to conservation and food security. “Why then the blind eye? Perhaps the high seas are part of the tragedy of the commons, merely someone else's problem?”, he questions.
In his concluding remarks, he underlines a positive chance for both sides: “For Europeans this is an opportunity to walk the talk. To implement full transparency; have an eco-system approach […]Fishing agreements should also be integrated into development policy - after all they are about food and nutrition […] For African partners this is an opportunity to ensure transparent and good use of fishing revenue, building domestic capacity and access for national fleets; and keeping healthy seas for artisanal and small scale fisheries […]”

Source: CTA/ All Africa