Second round of negotiations calls for new sustainable fisheries partnership |25 September 2019
Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Charles Bastienne returned to Seychelles over the weekend after attending the second round of negotiations of the EU-Seychelles Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and its implementing Protocol.
The negotiations took place in Brussels from September 17 to 20, 2019 and it follows the first round of negotiations which took place in Seychelles from August 19 to 22, 2019.
Discussions in Brussels continued around the technical issues of the agreement and protocol, taking into account on the one hand, the principles of the EU Common Fisheries Policy and other objectives, and on the other hand, of the Seychelles Fisheries Policy, legislative framework, the Fisheries Comprehensive Plan and the relevant development relating to tuna management in Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).
Constructive discussions were held, allowing significant progress on issues such as on the embarcation of seamen on board EU vessels, human and electronic observers, by-catch among others.
Remaining outstanding issues include notably the level of fishing opportunities, i.e. number of vessels and reference tonnage, ship-owners license fee and the EU financial contributions which includes the access fee to be paid by EU for those vessels to gain access to fish in Seychelles waters in respect of the agreed reference tonnage and the specific amount known as “sectoral support” for the support and implementation of Seychelles’ sectoral fisheries policy.
A third round of negotiations is expected to take place in Seychelles towards the beginning of October to address these outstanding issues, and hopefully conclusion of negotiations, noting the existing Agreement will end this November and its implementing protocol in January 2020.
The delegation comprised representatives from the departments of fisheries, blue economy, trade, foreign affairs, environment, the office of the Attorney General and the Seychelles Fishing Authority.
The Seychelles ambassador in Belgium, Beryl Samson, also attended the negotiations.
To recall the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) is the bilateral framework to be agreed by both parties that will allow European Union fishing vessels opportunities to continue their fishing operations in Seychelles EEZ, establishing the principles, rule and procedures governing the economic, financial, technical, and scientific aspect of this cooperation, including conditions for EU fishing vessels gaining access to Seychelles EEZ, and the management, control and surveillance measures governing their activities.