Brussels: New fisheries partnership agreement and protocol between the EU and the Comoros – Fishupdate.com

Brussels: New fisheries partnership agreement and protocol between the EU and the Comoros Published:  01 December, 2005

JOE Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, on behalf of the European Union and Mr Mohamed Abdoulhamid, Minister of Rural Development, Fisheries and Environment of the Islamic Republic of the Comoros Islands, have signed the new EU/Comoros fisheries protocol which will be in place until 31 December 2010. This new protocol is said to herald a new era in co-operation by establishing both a clear commitment to fisheries policy co-operation between the two Parties, and the mechanisms to turn that commitment into a reality.

Both Parties will enter into a political dialogue on all issues related to fishing. The following have been identified as priority areas for support to the fishing policy defined by the Comoros:

*improvement of food security and poverty reduction;

*conservation and sustainable management of marine living resources;

*job creation and improvement of revenues.

The Community’s financial contribution will total € 2,340,000 over the 6-year period, of which 60% will be used to support the fishing policy defined by the government of the Comoros. The Comoros and the Union have convened a Joint Committee to discuss in detail the utilisation of these funds ensuring that the new protocol will contribute to the development of the Comoros fisheries sector. The programmes implemented under this policy will be subject to annual evaluation by both parties.

Furthermore, the Comoros can expect an additional annual State income of approximately € 560,105 per year from license fees paid by EU vessel owners.

As regards fishing opportunities, the FPA provides for licences to be granted for 57 vessels fishing for tuna, down from 65 under the previous protocol: 40 tuna seiners (unchanged) and 17 long-liners (down from 25). The licence fees payable by the ship owners have been increased by almost 50% to € 3,375 for seiners and € 2,065 for long-liners.

The fishing possibilities and the technical measures have been agreed in accordance both with existing decisions taken within the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to ensure the sustainable management of this stock, and with the latest scientific advice. The FPA also establishes that the parties shall consult each other annually on how best to implement any new recommendations and resolutions agreed by the IOTC.

The 2002 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy included the implementation of a new approach to fisheries agreements. This approach is designed to secure the continuation of the activities of the European distant water fleets while ensuring coherence between EU fisheries policy and EU environmental and development policies, in line with the Union’s international commitments. As a result, co-operation with the EU’s international partners is now focused on achieving sustainable fisheries beyond EU waters, based on scientific advice and application of the precautionary approach, in accordance with the general principles of the Common Fisheries Policy.

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