EU AND SEYCHELLES TAKE STOCK OF FISHERIES PARTNERSHIP
EU and Seychelles take stock of the 2020-2026 Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement
EU and Seychelles representatives met on 24-26 November in Victoria, Seychelles to take stock of the 2020-2026 Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA).
During the Joint Committee meeting, the Parties reviewed the state of play in relation to EU fishing activities in Seychelles waters, cooperation under the sectoral support programme, as well as cooperation in the framework of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).
All the projects realised under the first annual work-programme of the Protocol were reviewed, and the parties agreed on priorities, objectives and activities for the second annual work-programme of the current Protocol. The meeting has clearly highlighted that the sectoral support benefits the local communities and the artisanal sector, and consequently contribute to employment and food security in the country.
Between February 2020 and October 2021, around €5.7 million of EU support has been implemented under the previous and current protocols, pointing to a very high level of execution. The main activities realised were the implementation of the fisheries and aquaculture management plans and of monitoring, control and surveillance in Seychelles waters. Key activities include building of infrastructures to benefit local fishing communities, such as fisheries facilities at la Retraite, landing sites and fish market at Perseverance and the aquaculture broodstock facility in Providence; in Cascade, Anse Aux Pins, Baie Ste. In Anne Praslin and Grand Anse Praslin, other EU-funded fisheries infrastructure projects are under way. The financial support provided to the Seychelles Bureau of Standards and to the Maritime Academy have also allowed for the training of skilled professionals and a number of other capacity building activities.
In 2020, some 17 million Seychelles rupees (SCR) of emergency funds from the sectoral support was made available for implementation of the Food Security – Fisheries Emergency Plan during the pandemic to assist the fishermen and fish processors, helping the Seychelles authorities put in place mitigating measures against the impact of COVID-19.
The meeting also addressed future actions aiming at making fisheries the second pillar of the national economy, achieving a shift from mainly transhipment activities towards becoming a fish processing hub. The sectoral support funds will contribute to building infrastructures and services in support of a new processing zone at Ile du Port and strengthen the private sector engagement along with new policy frameworks promoting sustainable practices for industrial, semi-industrial and artisanal fisheries and aimed at increasing export opportunities. The two Parties expressed their support for the emergence of Seychellois entrepreneurship in the seafood sector, particularly in the tuna value chain.
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) between the EU and Seychelles applies since February 2020. Based on a reference tonnage of 50 000 tonnes, the EU provides Seychelles with an annual financial contribution of €5 300 000. A significant part of this contribution, €2 800 000 per year, is specifically earmarked to promote sustainable management of fisheries in Seychelles, as well as to support the development of small-scale fisheries. For the duration of the protocol, the total estimated value, including the EU ship-owners contribution, amounts to €58 200 000, equivalent to €9 700 000 per year.
The current SFPA represents a significant step ahead for the partnership between the European Union and Seychelles. The agreement is based on core principles of the EU’s common fisheries policy such as transparency, governance of fishing activities, non-discrimination, respect of scientific advice and scientific cooperation on data collection and analysis. It also complies with Seychelles’ legislation and the management measures taken in the context of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), of which both Parties are members.