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Publication | 2017

EU sustainable fisheries partnership agreements

A transparent, coherent and mutually beneficial tool that enhance fisheries governance for sustainable exploitation, fish supply and development of the fisheries sector in SFPA partner countries.

Sustainable fisheries agreements with non-EU countries are negotiated and concluded by the Commission on behalf of the EU. They allow EU vessels to fish for surplus stocks in the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in a legally regulated environment. These agreements also focus on resource conservation and environmental sustainability, ensuring that all EU vessels are subject to the same rules of control and transparency. At the same time, a clause concerning respect for human rights has been included in all protocols to fisheries agreements.
There are two main types of agreements:

  • Tuna agreements – allow EU vessels to pursue migrating tuna stocks as they move along the shores of Africa and through the Indian Ocean.
  • Mixed agreements – provide access to a wide range of fish stocks in the partner country's exclusive economic zone.

In exchange, the EU pays the partner countries a financial contribution composed of 2 distinct parts:

  • access rights to the EEZ
  • sectorial support which aims to promote sustainable fisheries development in the partner countries, by strengthening their administrative and scientific capacity through a focus on sustainable fisheries management, monitoring, control and surveillance

The EU has currently 12 SFPAs protocols in force with third countries:

  • 8 tuna - hake agreements: Cabo Verde, Senegal and The Gambia (which also cover hake), Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sao Tomé e Principe, Cook Islands and Mauritius. Additionally, Seychelles should enter into force before spring 2020.
  • 4 mixed agreements: Greenland, Morocco, Mauritania and  Guinea Bissau.

The EU has also 7 "dormant" agreements with Gabon, Madagascar, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, Micronesia, Solomon Island. "Dormant agreements" stand for countries that have a fisheries partnership agreement which is still in force but there is no implementing protocol in force. EU vessels are therefore not allowed to fish in waters under the regime of the dormant agreements.