The EU and the Seychelles have concluded negotiations for a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) and a new protocol that will strengthen their co-operation in fisheries for the next six years.
The agreement marks a new milestone of the long-standing bilateral co-operation in fisheries between the EU and Seychelles and of their commitment to promote 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 eight long-liners) to continue fishing in Seychelles waters for six 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 vessel owners’ contributions, amounts to €58,200,000, equivalent to €9,700,000 per year.
The new agreement is based on the principles of the common fisheries policy; transparency, governance of fishing activities, non-discrimination, respect of the scientific advice and scientific co-operation 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.
According to the European Commission, the new SFPA will also make it possible to strengthen co-operation and consultation between the parties in the context of the IOTC and other regional organisations.
Co-operation 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 locals working on EU vessels as well as by providing financial support for building the necessary infrastructure dedicated to local fishing activities.
The new six year protocol contains a number of new provisions reinforcing the monitoring of the EU fleet activities, including through the Electronic Reporting System. 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 vessel 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.