Seychelles signs renegotiated fisheries accord with the EU By Marie-Anne Lepathy |13 June 2022
Seychelles has just concluded re-negotiations on a fisheries agreement with the European Union (EU) to allow for eight Seychellois-flagged vessels to fish in the territorial waters of the French Department of Mayotte.
The new agreement, which is for six years, will come into effect in January next year.
It was signed on Friday by the principal secretary for fisheries, Roy Clarrise, who led the Seychelles delegation at the renegotiation talks and Emmanuel Berck from the European Commission and director general for maritime affairs and fisheries who led the European delegation.
Giving more details to the press on the newly concluded agreement, the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Jean François Ferrari, reminded the public that tuna are not only ours but that at times we need to go and fish them from outside the Indian Ocean. It is therefore important that fishing vessels which are registered in Seychelles and flying the Seychelles flag can also benefit from the opportunity to fish outside Seychelles.
Minister Ferrari further noted that Seychelles already has a good fishing agreement with Mauritius and today it is celebrating a similar agreement with Mayotte.
“During the past years we did not review the agreement in all its details but we just renewed it. But I am delighted to say that this time our team along with the European Union team has reviewed the agreement in all its aspects. They have taken into consideration the number of vessels which will be allowed to fish, the distance from the department that they can fish, rate to be charged per tonne of fish caught… Additionally we have also accepted that our vessels contribute towards a fund to protect the environment of Mayotte as is the case when they fish in our waters because we firmly believe in the sustainability of tuna fishing,” said Minister Ferrari.
Meanwhile Minister Ferrari has said that he is satisfied with the negotiations and what they have managed to put in the agreement to benefit Seychelles and it will help us to continue to practice sustainable tuna fishing.
“What is important is not what we can get today but what we can secure for the future,” said Minister Ferrari.
The new agreement is for six years but the two parties will have the possibility to discuss and make changes to its different components as and when they deem necessary.
“Tuna fishing must be carried out in a cooperation framework with other countries as it is not the type of fishing that a country can consider as its own. All countries should come together and engage in fisheries agreements for the sustainability of tuna fishing and Seychelles remains committed to engaging with its partners in the Indian Ocean Commission to secure similar agreements with them but will also try to strike similar agreement with countries which are reluctant to engage in any related talks. But we will continue to try and convince them because we firmly believe that the sustainability of tuna fishing will only be possible through good cooperation and exchanges of information on different aspects.
For his part Mr Berck said aside from the agreement that provides EU vessels access to Seychelles waters, this new agreement will reinforce the fisheries cooperation and it is a reciprocal agreement with many provisions.
“We’ve tried to reinforce the provision for monitoring of fishing activities, of the catches and we also took into account the specificities of Mayotte where we have marine protected areas in the fishing zone but of course the contribution for environmental management will be used for that purpose. It is really a balanced and win-win agreement,” added Mr Berck.
Representing the European Union, French ambassador to Seychelles, Dominique Mas, expressed his satisfaction on the conclusion of this agreement and commended the quality of the cooperation with Seychelles through the agreement signed sometime back which allows for European fishing vessels to fish in Seychelles waters.
“The agreement has mutual benefits for the two countries and it allows for the protection of natural resources and the environment,” added Ambassador Mas.
PS Clarisse for his part expressed his satisfaction that Seychelles has succeeded in completing negotiation for this agreement which started in 2020.