MEPs approve Seychelles partnership renewalThe Seychelles partnership provides access for European purse seine and longline vessels. Photo: QB

The European Parliament has adopted the renewed protocol to the existing EU fisheries partnership agreement with Seychelles.

The protocol provides tuna fishing opportunities for up to 40 purse seiners from Spain, France and Italy, and eight surface longliners from France, Spain and Portugal, for a total of 50,000 tonnes of tuna annually.

The EU’s financial contribution is €5.3 million per year. Of this amount, €2.5 million is payment for access rights to Seychelles waters, corresponding to a reference tonnage of 50,000 tonnes of tuna per year. The remaining €2.8 million provides sectoral support for the development of the Seychelles’ fisheries policy.

MEPs also adopted an accompanying resolution which calls for the Seychelles fisheries sector to be more involved in implementing the agreement, and for the overfished yellowfin tuna stocks to be restored through regional measures. Under the resolution, the EU’s fleet should do all it can to prevent overfishing. In addition, the resolution criticises the persistent practice of provisionally applying international agreements before Parliament gives its consent.

The new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership agreement and its six-year protocol have applied provisionally since they were signed on 24th February 2020, following the Commission proposal of 7th January 2020.

The EU-Seychelles fisheries agreement, first concluded in 1984 and updated in 1987 and 2006, has been implemented by successive protocols defining the EU’s fishing opportunities and financial contribution. It is one of only two active EU agreements in the western Indian Ocean region, the other being with Mauritius.

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