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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

EU partnership agreements with Seychelles, Senegal, Madagascar and the Comoros

The last Council on Agriculture and Fisheries which met in Brussels on 16 and 17 December 2013, adopted a decision on the signing on behalf of the EU, and on the provisional application of the protocol setting out fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for in the fisheries partnership agreement (FPA) between the EU and the Republic of Seychelles (16647/13, 16648/13).
The partnership agreement in the fisheries sector between the EU and Seychelles was concluded in 2006. The main objective of the protocol to this FPA is to define the fishing opportunities offered to EU vessels as well as the financial contribution due, separately, for access rights and for sectoral support. Following negotiations, a new protocol was initialled on 10 May 2013. The new protocol covers a period of 6 years from the date of its provisionnal application. In order to allow EU vessels to carry on fishing activities, as the current protocol expires on 17 January 2014, the new one should be applied on a provisional basis as from 18 January 2014, pending completion of the procedures for its formal conclusion.
In addition to the signing and the provisional application of this new protocol, the Council adopted a regulation concerning the allocation of fishing opportunities between member states (16650/13). The Council also requested for the consent of the European Parliament on the conclusion of this protocol.
The Council also adopted a decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations on behalf of the EU for a new fisheries partnership agreement (FPA) and protocol with the Republic of Senegal. The FPA and protocol between the EU and Senegal should be in line with the 19 March 2012 Council conclusions on the Commission communication of 13 July 2011 on the external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Then the council adopted an amendment to regulation 1258/2012 on the allocation of the fishing opportunities under the protocol agreed between the EU and the Republic of Madagascar setting out fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) between the two parties currently in force (15853/13) In September 2012, the joint committee, provided for in the FPA, examined the issue of sharks caught in association with fisheries managed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). It concluded, on the basis of records of catches for the period 2007-2011 of surface longliners authorised to fish under the previous protocol to the FPA that it would be appropriate to limit shark catches by such vessels to a maximum of 200 tonnes annually from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2014, thereby freezing the fishing pressure on these shark stocks in line with the recommendation issued by the IOTC Scientific Committee. The amendment of regulation 1258/2012 provides for a reduction of the shark catches and the allocation among the member states for the period of application of the new protocol.
Finally the Council also adopted a decision on the signing on behalf of the EU, and on the provisional application of the protocol between the EU and the Union of the Comoros setting out fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for in the fisheries partnership agreement (FPA) currently in force between the two parties (16126/13, 16127/13). The partnership agreement in the fisheries sector between the EU and the Comoros was concluded in 2006. The main objective of the protocol to this FPA is to define the fishing opportunities offered to EU vessels as well as the financial contribution due, separately, for access rights and for sectoral support. Following negotiations, a new protocol was initialled on 5 July 2013. The new protocol covers a period of 3 years from the date of its provisionnal application. In order to allow EU vessels to carry on fishing activities, as the current protocol expires on 30 December 2013, the new one should be applied on a provisional basis as from 1 January 2014 pending completion of the procedures for its formal conclusion. In addition to the signing and the provisional application of this new protocol, the Council adopted also a regulation concerning the allocation of fishing opportunities between member states (16129/13). The Council also requested for the consent of the European Parliament on the conclusion of this protocol.

Source: Council of the European Union