NEW EU FISHERIES AGREEMENT WITH MADAGASCAR
New EU fisheries agreement with Madagascar. EU vessels can resume fishing tuna and tuna-like species in Madagascar’s fishing zone, including Mozambique Channel, following validation in plenary of the agreement.
The new agreement says EU vessels can catch up to 14,000 tonnes of tuna and tuna-like species per year, out of which 220 tonnes of shark. The agreement will provide fishing access for 32 tuna seiners, 13 surface long liners above 100 tonnes and 20 surface long liners below 100 tonnes, a total of 65 vessels that traditionally come from Spain, France, Italy and Portugal.
The agreement also covers the Mozambique Channel, which is strategically important for the EU fleet. However, EU vessels may not enter a protected area of three nautical miles around anchored fish aggregating devices (FADs) used by Malagasy fishers.
In turn, the EU will pay EUR 1,800,000 per year, or EUR 7,200,000 in four years, and EU fishers will add another EUR 5,680,000. Overall, EU authorities and vessels owners will pay EUR 12,880,000 to Malagasy authorities for the whole duration of the protocol, out of which EUR 4,400,000 will support the fisheries policy of the country.
A new financial contribution for the protection of the ecosystems, will be paid by the owners of EU fishing vessels to the Malagasy agency responsible for fisheries and aquaculture industries. The fee is based in the gross tonnage (GT), amounting to EUR 2.50 per GT, with the total estimation of EUR 200,000 per year. In addition, the fees that tuna seiners already pay – based on catch tonnage – will rise from EUR 70 per tonne to EUR 85 per tonne.
Clara Aguilera (S&D, ES), rapporteur, said:
“This agreement is very important for the European fleet and, at the same time, is an excellent opportunity to advance the much-needed development of the Malagasy fisheries sector. Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements in general are very positive for both the local population and the European fleet, and provide EU consumers with better access to sustainably caught fish. This is a win-win agreement, as it meets both Madagascar and stakeholders’ identified needs by generating economic benefits by dint of the country’s surplus resources.
Without an implementing protocol in force since January 2019, and with the partnership operating within “dormant agreements”, the EU and Madagascar authorities signed a new a deal in October 2022, which provisionally entered into force on 1 July 2023.
The agreement will develop the country’s fisheries sector by promoting growth and better working conditions. Moreover, it supports monitoring and combating illegal fishing – Madagascar is working with the EU under the IUU fishing Regulation.
The European Parliament gave its consent to the EU-Madagascar fisheries agreement by 513 votes to 43, and 38 abstentions. Now it will go to the EU Council for a final approval.