Second round of Seychelles-EU fisheries talks said to make progress
Under the Fisheries Protocol, the EU provides Seychelles with a total financial contribution of 30 million euros including access fees for its fishing vessels operating in the island nation’s waters. (Joe Laurence, Archives photo)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Negotiations for a new ‘Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol’ between Seychelles and the European Union (EU) will go into a third-round in October to address remaining issues, the fisheries ministry said on Monday.
A delegation led by Charles Bastienne, the Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture, attended the second negotiation in Brussels from September 17-20. It followed the first round in Seychelles August 19-22.
Significant progress was made in the discussions in Brussels on the embarkation of seamen on-board EU vessels, human and electronic observers and by-catch among others, the ministry said.
The outstanding issues are mainly on the level of fishing opportunities. These include the number of vessels and reference tonnage, ship-owners license fee and the EU financial contributions in regards to the access fee to be paid by EU for vessels to gain access to fish in Seychelles waters.
A third round of talks is expected to take place in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, towards the beginning of October. The third round will address these outstanding issues and is expected to also conclude the negotiations.
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement is a longstanding cooperation agreement between Seychelles and the EU which enables EU vessels to fish in the waters under the jurisdiction of Seychelles.
The current agreement between the EU and Seychelles entered into force in 2007 and lasts until November. Under the Fisheries Protocol, the EU provides Seychelles with a total financial contribution of 30 million euros including access fees for its fishing vessels operating in the island nation’s waters.
The current six-year protocol will expire next year on January 17. The duration of the next agreement has not yet been outlined.