The agreement marks a new important milestone of the long-standing bilateral cooperation between the EU and Seychelles in fisheries and of their commitment in promoting a sustainable use of marine resources. This is the most important tuna agreement in place for the EU both in financial terms and in terms of fishing opportunities. It will allow the EU fleet (40 tuna purse-seiners and 8 long-liners) to continue fishing in Seychelles waters for duration of 6 years while continuing to support the sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the Seychelles.
Based on a reference tonnage of 50 000 tonnes, the EU will provide the Seychelles with an annual financial contribution of € 5 300 000. A significant part of this contribution, €2 800 000 per year, is specifically earmarked to promote the sustainable management of fisheries in Seychelles, as well as to support the development of small-scale fisheries. For the whole duration of the protocol, the total estimated value, including the EU ship-owners contribution, amounts to € 58 200 000, equivalent to € 9 700 000 per year.
The new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement agreed this week between the Parties represents a significant step ahead of the spirit and core’s principles of the partnership between the European Union and Seychelles. The new Agreement is based on the principles of the Common Fisheries Policy such as transparency, governance of fishing activities, non-discrimination, respect of the scientific advice and scientific cooperation on data collection and analysis. It also complies with Seychelles’ legislation and the management measures taken in the context of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), of which both Parties are members.
The new SFPA will also make it possible to strengthen cooperation and consultations between the Parties in the context of the IOTC and other regional organisations. Cooperation on monitoring, control and surveillance on fishing activities will be further reinforced, also through the possibility of carrying out joint EU-Seychelles inspections on EU vessels fishing in Seychelles’ waters.
The Protocol will contribute to the social and economic development of Seychelles by better defining the conditions of Seychelles seamen embarkation on EU vessels as well as by providing financial support for building the necessary infrastructure dedicated to local fishing activities.
The new 6 years Protocol contains a number of new provisions reinforcing the monitoring of the EU fleet activities (including through the Electronic Reporting System – ERS and Electronic Monitoring Device. Environmental protection is taken into account through clear provisions on the use and management of fish aggregating devices (FADs) and on support vessels, and the reinforcement of the role of observers. Such provisions take into account the creation of Marine Spatial Planning areas in Seychelles waters.
For the first time, EU ship-owners payments will also include a specific contribution to a dedicated Fund that Seychelles will put in place to improve environmental management and the observations of marine ecosystems in its waters.
The EU and Seychelles will now initiate the necessary legislative procedures for the signature and conclusion of the new agreement and its Implementing Protocol.
The agreement between the EU and Seychelles is the most important tuna agreement in place for the EU both in financial terms and in terms of fishing opportunities. The current Protocol will expire on 17 January 2020.
The Council of the European Union adopted the negotiations mandate authorising the Commission to open negotiations with Seychelles on 15 July 2019. The agreement on the new texts was reached following the opening of negotiations on 19 August 2019. The first round took place in Seychelles on from 19 to 22 August 2019; the second round was held in Brussels from 17 to 20 September 2019 and the third one took place in Seychelles on 7 and 8 October 2019. The fourth and final round was held in Brussels on 21 and 22 October 2019. All rounds were marked by a very cooperative and constructive approach between the EU and Seychelles.