Cape Verde and the EU have started talks for a new fisheries agreement protocol that should enter into force in 2014, announced Cape Verde Prime Minister at the end of a meeting with the EU’s ambassador in Cape Verde. He insisted that Cape Verde seeks “an agreement that allows development of the fish processing sector… increasing the landings of fish and guaranteeing more jobs.” The government wishes to have “more rigorous” control of its maritime resources. The EU’s ambassador in Cape Verde stated in turn that the EU wants the new agreement to last for 6 years.
The EC evaluation indicates that the fisheries agreement between Cape Verde and the EU was “more than satisfactory” due to the high level of the fish caught in Cape Verde waters. The current agreement authorises 28 European tuna vessels (16 from Spain and 12 from France) and 35 surface longliners (26 from Spain and 9 from Portugal) to operate in the EEZ of Cabo Verde.
According to the report, 71% of the added value created by the agreement accrues to the EU, 17% to Cape Verde and 13% to other West African countries – due to landings, transports and supplies in the ports of Dakar (Senegal) and Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire).
The President of the Republic of Cape Verde also commented about this at World Fisheries Day, organised on 21 November by the African Confederation of Artisanal Fishing Organisations (CAOPA). In his message to the participants, he emphasised that local fishermen were concerned about the social consequences of the FPA, in terms of employment and food security for Cape Verdean families.
The President underlined that, during his last visit to the EU, he raised fisheries issues “because the fisheries agreement signed with the EU is to be reviewed in the near future.” Referring to the artisanal fishermen concerns, the President stated that “I raised the awareness of my interlocutors, in particular the President of the European Commission, on those aspects that I consider of great importance”, including measures to protect artisanal fishing against destructive practices from industrial vessels, and effective control of the quantities caught.
That the EU agreements are far more transparent than those signed by ACP countries with other distant-water fishing nations often leads to local stakeholders raising their concerns about all foreign fleets’ operations when the EU SFPA comes up for (re)negotiation. Local stakeholders often lack information about what other fleets (e.g. Chinese, South Korean, Russian) are doing. Opening up the SFPA negotiation process to civil society stakeholders is gradually taking place, with local groups being able to access information (like the FPAs evaluations). This is a positive step towards creating more general awareness of the need to ensure that all foreign fleets’ activities become more transparent and abide by the same high environmental and social sustainability standards.