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Commissioner Karmenu Vella with a delegation of Europêche. (Photo: Europêche)

Europêche requests further diplomatic support to renew Guinea-Bissau agreement

EUROPEAN UNION
Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 22:40 (GMT + 9)

The European long-distance fleet, grouped in Europêche, has expressed the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of DG Mare, Karmenu Vella, the importance of fisheries agreements with third countries for this fleet and has requested diplomatic support at the highest level to renew the agreement with Guinea-Bissau on fair terms.

To renew the agreement with Guinea-Bissau, which ends on November 23, and after the failure of the fourth round of negotiations, Europêche considers it necessary to make the president of the country, José Mario Vaz, understand that its demands are disproportionate and that the renewal would imply a loss for both parties.

Europêche has also asked the Commissioner to make every effort to renew the agreements with Morocco and Gabon. The agreement with Morocco ends in July 2018 and the agreement with Gabon expired in July 2016. With regards to the latter, in addition to the renewal, the European association requests the inclusion of the shellfish fleet.

European shipowners are also calling for the reactivation of the so-called "dormant agreements", existing deals that do not have a Fisheries Protocol, as it is the case of those with Gambia and Equatorial Guinea. The association argues that this situation, apart from being paradoxical, closes the doors to the activity of the European fleet in these countries because it can not develop its activity and, at the same time, the exclusivity clause included in the agreement prevents shipowners from setting private agreements.

In this regard, and in relation to the new Fisheries Authorizations Regulation, which is expected to enter into force in early 2018, Europêche has asked Vella for support to comply with the requirement to have a scientific report guaranteeing surplus water resources from third countries where private agreements exist. In particular, Europêche requests the DG Mare to provide third countries with the capacity to carry out the necessary scientific surveys in the process of stock assessment.

"We can not ignore the importance of the external dimension of the European fleet and it is necessary for the EC not only to implement all the instruments to ensure the renewal of agreements as strategic as those of Guinea-Bissau and Morocco, but it must also ensure that the management of fishery resources in countries with which it has agreements such as Mauritania, for example, does not have a negative impact on the activity of European vessels," pointed out Javier Garat, president of Europêche.

During the meeting, Europêche also reiterated its support for EU policy and actions in the fight against illegal fishing. In this context, it requested that the introduction of the IMO number in the Catch Certificate, as required for European vessels, be mandatory for third country fleets.

Related article:

EU fishing vessel operation continuity becomes uncertain in Guinea-Bissau

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