Russia renews access agreement to Guinean EEZ

Published on
July 26, 2019

Russian vessels will resume fishing in the Guinea exclusive economic zone in 2020, following the signing of a new agreement between the two countries.

Following up on a fishery cooperation agreement signed last year between Russian and Guinea, Ilya Shestakov, head of Russia's Federal Agency for Fisheries, and Guinean Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Maritime Economy Frederique Loua signed the agreement after negotiations during the III Global Fishery Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, in July. 

The accord covers a wide range of directions for cooperation, including the fight against illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, aquaculture, the restoration of marine biodiversity, seafood processing and transportation, shipbuilding and ship repair, production of freezing and storage facilities, organizing exhibitions, training and seminars, and investments. 

But the focus is on information exchange on available stocks, conducting joint research, professional training, and control of catch totals. 

Shestakov said that the first agreement between the U.S.S.R. and Guinea was made in 1984. Under the initial agreement, seven to eight Soviet vessels operated year-round, annually catching 10,000 to 12,000 metric tons (MT). In 2008 and 2012, Russian vessels caught 2,100 MT and 1,300 MT of seafood in Guinea, respectively, working under commercial agreements. Between 1978 and 1990, seven joint scientific expeditions were undertaken to assess stocks of fish and invertebrate.

 “We have recently renewed our cooperation,” Shestakov said. “A session of an intergovernmental commission in charge of the implementation of the agreement we signed in 2018 will define the terms of Russian fishing in the waters of Guinea. I hope that work of the commission will be fruitful.”

Loua confirmed Guinea’s interest in Russia’s fishing in the economic zone of the country. He also handed over the latest fisheries data from Guinean waters.

Shestakov said the Russian Fisheries Agency is ready to consider the allocation of state-funded quota in Russian fisheries-focused high schools for students from Guinea, meaning that in future, Guinean students will be able to receive on-the-job training on Russian vessels fishing in Guinean waters. 

Additionally, Russia is considering forming a group of specialists to send to the country to evaluate its catch-control systems. 

Further discussion on the agreement will take place in October 2019, during a joint Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, Russia. The first session of the intergovernmental commission is scheduled to be held during the event,  according to Shestakov.

Photo courtesy of Russia's Federal Agency for Fisheries

Contributing Editor reporting from Saint Petersburg, Russia

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