EU, Seychelles come to terms on new tuna fishing agreement

The European Union and the Seychelles have agreed a new six-year Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreement (SFPA) that allows E.U. vessels access to the Indian Ocean nation’s waters to catch tuna.

According to the European Commission, this is the most important tuna agreement in place for the E.U., both in financial terms and in terms of fishing opportunities. It will allow an E.U. fleet of 40 tuna purse-seiners and eight longliners to continue fishing in Seychelles waters.

Based on a reference tonnage of 50,000 metric tons (MT), the E.U. will provide the Seychelles with an annual financial contribution of EUR 5.3 million (USD 5.9 million). Of this, EUR 2.8 million (USD 3.1 million) is specifically earmarked to promote the sustainable management of fisheries in the region, as well as to support the development of small-scale fisheries.

For the duration of the protocol, the total estimated value, including the E.U. shipowners' contribution, amounts to EUR 58.2 million (USD 64.7 million), equivalent to EUR 9.7 million (USD 10.8 million) per year.

As well as strengthening E.U.-Seychelles cooperation in the context of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and other regional organisations, the SFPA also contains a number of new provisions that reinforce the monitoring of the E.U. fleet’s activities, including through the electronic reporting system (ERS) and electronic monitoring device.

Additionally, there are provisions on the use and management of fish aggregating devices (FADs) and on support vessels, and the reinforcement of the role of observers.

For the first time, E.U. shipowners’ payments will include a specific contribution to a dedicated fund for the Seychelles to use to improve environmental management and observations of the marine ecosystems in its waters.

The E.U. and Seychelles will now initiate the necessary legislative procedures for the signature and conclusion of the new agreement and its implementing protocol.

Photo courtesy of Ohrim/Shutterstock


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