The European Union (EU) and Seychelles have today signed the agreement on the provisional application of the amendments to the Protocol of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA). The signing of this agreement was done in Brussels, Belgium between Ms. Mary Veronica Tovšak Pleterski and Ambassador Barry Faure who, respectively, were representing the European Council and the Government of Seychelles.
The Protocol, which sets out the fishing opportunities (expressed in EU vessel numbers) and the financial contribution (by EU) for the period from 18 January 2005 to 17 January 2011, was amended following negotiations between Seychelles and the EC held from 20th – 21st March 2007 in Brussels. The amended Protocol was initialed by both Parties at the conclusion of the negotiation (on 21st March 2007) and has been in provisional application, pending its entry into force, since 18th January 2008.
The amendments made to the Protocol constitute of increases in the reference tonnage and financial contribution. As a result of the good level of catches, the reference tonnage was increased from 55,000 tonnes to 63,000 tonnes. An increase was made in the annual financial contribution as from 18th June 2008, representing an amount of EUR 5,355,000 compared with EUR 4,125,000 per annum for the first three years of the Protocol’s duration. The increased annual financial contribution of EUR 5,355,000 comprises EUR 4,095,000 equivalent to the new reference tonnage (of 63,000 tonnes per year) and EUR 1,260,000 (per year) for the support and implementation of the Seychelles’ sectoral fisheries policy.
It is to be recalled that the Seychelles-EU FPA was negotiated and concluded in 2004 to replace the previous bilateral fisheries agreement between the two parties, and is the largest tuna fisheries protocol ever signed by the EU with a third country. FPAs are the EU’s new generation of bilateral fisheries agreements. According to the EU, the main objective of introducing the FPAs to replace its previous bilateral fisheries agreements was to provide for improved economic, financial, technical and scientific cooperation in the fisheries sector with a view to conserving and achieving sustainable exploitation of the resources.
In this connection, the Government of Seychelles intends to carry out a comprehensive review of all the fisheries agreements it has concluded thus far with a view to ensuring that Seychelles obtains maximum yields from its fishery resources while undertaking the necessary measures for sustainable exploitation of these resources.