French tuna purse seiner. (Photo: Ships)
European Parliament approves fisheries agreement with Gabon
Friday, February 07, 2014, 00:50 (GMT + 9)
The European Parliament (EP) adopted the new protocol on fisheries between the European Union (EU) and Gabon, which will allow Spanish and French tuna vessels to operate in the African country fishery.
This agreement is valid for three years, with a 20,000-tonne reference tonnage. It will benefit 27 tuna seiners and 8 pole-and-line tuna boats.
This time, the parties decided not to renew the fishing opportunities for surface longline vessels.
In the earlier agreement, 16 licenses for surface longline vessels were included, EFE recalled.
To fish in the waters of Gabon, the EU will pay EUR 1.35 million per year. Of this total, around EUR 450,000 will be invested in the Gabonese fisheries sector and the rest will be used to cover the access rights.
In addition, Community shipowners will have to pay a fee for their catch: for every tonne caught within the first year of implementation of the protocol, they will have to pay EUR 55, and EUR 65 per tonne in the second year.
Besides, a national tax of EUR 13,750 per year will be charged.
The bilateral agreement provides that shipowners are required to hire at least 20 per cent of sailors of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) origin, while ensuring to list Gabonese ones.
The new fishing agreement has been provisionally applied from the date of signature, on 24 July last year.
"Our agreement with Gabon is yet another example of the new generation of sustainable fisheries agreements which guarantee environmentally sustainability for the stocks concerned while ensuring economic profitability for the EU fleet,” EU Commissioner for Fisheries Maria Damanaki explained.
The previous protocol was in force between 3 December 2005 and 2 December 2011, benefiting 28 ships of the Spanish fleet: 15 seine and 13 surface longliners, most of them from Galicia and the Basque Country.
- First green light to fisheries agreement with Gabon
By Analia Murias