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Friday, 20 October 2017

ACP Secretariat
17 September:         Seminar: Convention on the Protection of Diversity of Cultural Expressions
18 September:         Committee of Ambassadors

EU Council

17 September:        COREPER I
19 September:        COREPER I

European Parliament
15-18 September:     European Parliament Committee Meetings (Strasbourg    
European Parliament Plenary Session  (Strasbourg)

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On August 11st, the European Commission announced deductions from 2014 fishing quotas to a group of ten Member States that exceeded their quotas for 2013. The European Commission announces these deductions on a yearly basis to immediately address the damage done to the stocks overfished in the previous year and ensure a sustainable use by Member States of common fishery resources. Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “If we want to be serious in our fight against overfishing, we need to apply our rules by the book – and this includes the respect of quotas. I’m glad to see that we did a better job in 2013 than in previous years when it comes to staying within quotas. That said, to achieve healthy fish stocks across Europe we also need efficient controls to enforce the rules in place.”

The ACP Committee of Ambassadors in Brussels will hold its first regular session this month since appointing a new Chair and a new Bureau to coordinate its work. The Ambassador and Former Minister for Mining of Guinea, H.E Ousmane Sylla took over as Chair of the Committee of Ambassadors, presiding over the organisation’s key decision-making body in Brussels for the period 1 August 2014 – 31 January 2015. The Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors is comprised of a representative of each of the six ACP regions, including H.E Mr. Johnson Weru of Kenya (East Africa), H.E Dr. Alfredo Lopez Cabral of Guinea Bissau (West Africa), H.E Mrs. Grace Kabwe of Zambia (Southern Africa), H.E Mr. Ousmane Matar Breme of Chad (Central Africa), H.E Dr. Dylan Vernon of Belize (Caribbean) and H.E Mr. Joshua Kalinoe of Papua New Guinea (Pacific). They are responsible for coordination and reviewing issues before they are addressed at the level of the Committee of Ambassadors.

West African waters, rich in fishery resources, are currently the target of organized ocean floor pillaging, an activity which endangers the nutritional security of populations in the sub-region for whom nutritional balance greatly depends on the products of fishing. Many foreign ships, generally European or Asian, fish in West African Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) without authorization and without any consideration for the marine flora and fauna, thereby adding to the already serious overexploitation of the marine zone. Illegal fishing is more prevalent in West African waters than anywhere else in the world, representing an annual economic loss for the sub-region estimated between 828 million and 1,6 billion US dollars. In order to confront this issue, governments and organizations both local and international are working to improve national legislation and surveillance systems while reinforcing regional cooperation.

The disagreements on interpretations of the Mauritania-European Union (IRM-EU) fisheries protocol signed in July 2012 recently came very close to causing a breakdown in relations between the two parties, with our European partners also being described as “con men” by the media in Mauritania. With the protocol due to expire and despite the fact that dozens of European boats had started fishing in Mauritanian waters the day after its signature on 31 July 2012, European negotiators, who had arrived in Nouakchott at the end of July 2014, according to the media attempted to secure acceptance of the idea that the protocol had only entered into force after its ratification by the European Parliament on 15 December 2012, while offering financial compensation of EUR 3 million for the five months (between July and December 2012) during which European boats had fished in Mauritanian waters.

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