EU, Gabon sign new fisheries partnership agreement
A new protocol to a fisheries agreement has been established by the European Union and the Gabonese Republic, allowing E.U. vessels to access Gabonese waters for the next five years.
According to the European Commission, the new protocol “creates a framework for cooperation and governance” with Gabon with regards to fisheries, and “guarantees respect for the fundamental values of the E.U.’s Common Fisheries Policy,” based on sustainable resource management, improved fisheries governance and transparency.
In addition, the protocol responds to Gabon’s desire to improve the competitiveness of the sector and to encourage the creation of added-value and workplaces, in particular through incentives to disembark catches and enhance their value.
The access of European tuna vessels to waters and fishery resources in the Gabonese fishing zone will be authorized in return for an annual financial contribution from the E.U. of EUR 1.6 million (USD 1.9 million).
Further financial support of EUR 1 million (USD 1.2 million) annually will be provided by the E.U. to contribute to the development of the fisheries sector and to the sustainable management of stocks through scientific capacity-building, observation, and management of the marine environment, as well as measures to protect fragile ecosystems such as marine protected areas (MPAs).
Support will also contribute to the monitoring, control, and surveillance of fisheries and the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
European shipowners will complement the E.U. contribution by circa EUR 2.6 million (USD 3.2 million) per year, to be adjusted according to their level of catches.
The European fleet will consist of 27 tuna seiners, six pole-and-line tuna vessels and four trawlers targeting demersal fish and crustaceans in an exploratory fishery.
This is the second new fisheries agreement made by the E.U. in as many months, following the four-year Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) and protocol that was negotiated with Greenland.
Photo courtesy of Mr. Somchai Tomwoot/Shutterstock