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Monday, 15 July 2013

The EU should pay for every day of fishing in Kiribati

The development committee in the European Parliament on 24 June voted with a large majority for an opinion which calls on the Parliament to decline to give its consent to the extension of the EU’s fisheries agreement with the Pacific Ocean island nation Kiribati, an article by the MEP Isabella Lövin – member in the fisheries committee - informs.
It is feared that the renewal of the EU-Kiribati fisheries agreement fails to respect the provisions of international treaties such as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) - an agreement between several nations in the Pacific Ocean to regulate access to a migrating tuna stock by selling licenses for single fishing days at sea through a Vessel Day Scheme (VDS).
In breach with the PNA, the EU and Kiribati have negotiated a fisheries agreement whereby four EU vessels - for a relatively low amount of money - get unlimited access to Kiribati’s waters.
This means that it is unclear to what extent regional limits on fishing effort apply to EU vessels and that Kiribati is likely to get less money for the fish resource from the EU compared to if they were to apply VDS. Kiribati is already applying VDS in bilateral agreements with Japan, Taiwan, China and New Zealand, so there is no good explanation to why VDS is not a part of the new agreement with the EU. For, Lövin, the fact that Kiribati does not apply VDS in the EU agreement jeopardises the regional cooperation which is critical to increasing the revenue all the nations in the region get from tuna resources they rely upon.
The last Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement concluded between the EU and Kiribati covers the period 16.9.2012 – 15.9.2015 (details on the protocol here).