Seychellois seafarers owed payment by EU vessels to get 73 percent of pay
The EU and Seychelles agreed that the affected Seychellois seamen would receive compensation. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychellois seafarers who worked on European Union (EU) fishing vessels under previous protocols will receive 73 percent of the requested amount of compensation, said Seychelles' fisheries minister.
Jean-Francois Ferrari took part in the second Joint Committee Meeting under the Implementing Protocol 2020-2026 of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Seychelles. The meeting took place in Seychelles from November 24 to November 25.
"We have had long negotiations and I thank the EU for the way approaching the issue in a constructive manner, where we were looking for a solution. I also thank the ship owners and European fishing companies operating in Seychelles for their willingness to get this thorny issue out of the way," Ferrari told a press conference.
Payments are to be made in coming weeks.
The EU and Seychelles have jointly agreed that 121 Seychellois seamen whose fixed wages were not in conformity with the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) would receive compensation.
In order to close this issue in a satisfactory compromise for all parties involved, it was agreed that repayments for the Protocol 2014-2020 and for the Protocol 2011-2013 be settled on a case-by-case approach following a scrutiny process by the Seychelles Fishing Authority in collaboration with EU operators. For the cases supported by evidence and considered eligible for compensation, the repayments will be done by EU operators by end of the year.
For the first two protocols, an amount of around 1.2 million euros will be paid by the shipowners. As for the oldest protocol from 2005 to 2011 - the parties acknowledged the serious legal constraints for shipowners to intervene directly on the cases arising between 2005 and 2010. The Seychelles' authorities agreed to use the EU operators' contributions collected through the Fund for Environment Management and Observation of Marine Ecosystems set by the current Protocol to compensate the concerned seamen.
In case of insufficient funds available, the remaining compensations will be covered by SFA proportionally to the money made available through this Fund and the repayments made by operators for the 2014-2020 Protocol.
In the press conference, the Deputy Head of the EU's Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Unit, Emmanuel Berck, expressed his satisfaction with the implementation of this fisheries partnership agreement, further outlining areas that are working well.
"We have very good fishing activities, smooth operation, good level of catches and last year for instance, we had slightly exceeded the reference tonnage which is foreseen in the protocol with the effect that we are going to make additional payments to Seychelles for these quantities of tuna that we have been catching. All these technical issues and discussions are helping us to improve the monitoring and implementation of this agreement," he said.
"As for the sectoral support, I want to underline the admiration on the way that the money has been spent and the projects have been progressing. We have a number of concrete achievements, which benefit the local communities. We are happy that this money is used mostly for the local fishing communities and for the surveillance, control and monitoring of the fishing zone of Seychelles, which is important," continued Berck.
He also confirmed that the joint committee took the decision to disburse the next installment of the sectoral support of 2.8 million euros. It will be paid in the coming days to Seychelles for the sector of fisheries.