Seychelles and Mayotte sign new 6-year fisheries agreement
Under the agreement, eight Seychelles-flagged vessels will be able to fish in Mayotte's waters. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
Seychelles and Mayotte have re-negotiated and signed a new fisheries agreement, allowing Seychelles-flagged tuna purse seining vessels to operate in the waters of the French overseas department, while also being reciprocal in its terms for vessels from Mayotte fishing in Seychelles' waters.
The six-year agreement was signed by Seychelles' Principal Secretary for Fisheries, Roy Clarisse, and Emmanuel Berck, Deputy Head of the unit for Trade Negotiations and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements of the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries at the European Commission, on Friday.
Seychelles' fisheries minister, Jean Francois Ferrari, said that "our team, and that of the United Nations and of France, have carried out detailed work on all aspects of the agreement."
Under the agreement, eight Seychelles-flagged vessels will be able to fish in Mayotte's waters, 24 nautical miles away from its coasts. Seychelles-flagged vessels will have to make an advanced payment of 135,000 euros for the first 100 tonnes of tuna caught. Additional catches will be calculated at a rate of 135 euros per tonne.
"We also accepted that Seychelles-flagged vessels operating in the waters of Mayotte will also have to contribute to an environmental fund so as to help protect the waters of Mayotte, just as we ask for our waters and islands to be protected. We believe in the sustainable development of this type of fisheries," said Ferrari.
A fee of 2.25 euros per tonne of tuna caught will be placed into the environmental fund.
The French ambassador to Seychelles, Dominique Mas, said that this clause in the agreement "shows the coherence that exists between Seychelles and France when it comes to the protection of the ocean and its resources."
This is the second agreement that Seychelles has with Mayotte after one signed in 2014 for six years. Due to the pandemic, the two parties could not complete the renegotiation on time.
The agreement once more reinforces how to report to the necessary authorities to make sure that fishing happens in a sustainable manner, all the while ensuring the protection of other species.
Berck outlined that through the agreement the parties also want to reinforce the provision for monitoring fishing activities and the monitoring of catches.
"It is also reciprocal and as such there are many provisions that just mirror what we have agreed on that allows us to fish in Seychelles' waters. It is a balanced and win-win agreement by which Seychelles' vessels will continue their fishing activities and that will also contribute to the fisheries sector in Mayotte and the development of the local fishing sector, which is good for this department of France and the whole region," said Berck.
With the agreement set to come into effect on January 1, 2023, the parties expect to meet regularly to hold discussions relating to the agreement, making adjustments if needed.