Guinea-Bissau affirms commitment to EU fisheries agreement
Guinea-Bissau has reiterated its commitment to the latest five-year fisheries partnership agreement with the European Union.
The agreement, which was first signed in 2007 and which was renewed for four years in 2019, will enable the West African country to increase national revenue, create additional jobs, and support growth of the nation's seafood industry, according to Guinea-Bissau Foreign Minister Suzi Barbosa.
Barbosa told Macau Business at the end of November that the partnership “will allow more work for the fish sellers [and] will activate our economy and have a direct impact on improving living conditions.”
The agreement allows 50 fishing vessels from the E.U. countries of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, France, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland to access Guinea-Bissau’s waters in exchange for an annual compensation of EUR 15.6 million (USD 17.6 million). The vessels target tuna, cephalopods, shrimps, demersal species, and small pelagics. The partnership is part of a network of E.U. fisheries agreements in West Africa that also include Morocco and Mauritania.
“Our big priority at the moment with the European Union is the fisheries agreement, in the sense that we finally have accreditation to export our fish to the E.U.,” Barbosa said. “We already have a laboratory [and] we want to continue the process so that we can accredit our fish to be exported to Europe.”
Barbosa told media after a meeting with the European External Action Service Director-General Rita Laranjinha – who was in Guinea-Bissau on a bilateral visit – that the partnership “will not only allow an increase in revenues at the level of our economy, but also allow an improvement in people’s lives.”
Meanwhile, France recently partnered with West and Central African countries in carrying out an annual maritime security exercise known as Grand Africa NEMO.
The partnership was a part of a regional initiative to combat illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing. The security initiative was launched in 2013 by members of the Economic Community of West African States, the Economic Community of Central African States, and the Gulf of Guinea Commission to contribute to the E.U. Coordinated Maritime Presences initiative. The initiative permits E.U. member states access to the exclusive economic zones of West African nations in order to collect and share awareness, analysis, and information of potential IUU activity there.
Photo courtesy of the United Nations