At the opening of the EU–Côte d’Ivoire FPA first joint committee, Côte d’Ivoire fisheries minister wished that “beyond the financial contribution of the agreement, EU support should continue in terms of developing Côte d’Ivoire capacity for monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS)”. He considered that priorities for the duration of this protocol should include the fight against IUU fishing.
The role the EU as a whole should play for promoting sustainable fisheries through its FPA with Côte d’Ivoire was also discussed in the EP development committee opinion on the EU–Côte d’Ivoire FPA. This stated that the FPA multiannual sectoral programme should focus on only a limited number of objectives, to ensure more effective support, and that the action taken “needs to be coordinated with action funded under other EU development programmes, including the 11th EDF and the ACP Fish II programme, as well as Ivorian regional and national programmes”.
The EP development committee further calls on the European Commission to consider adopting measures:
- to bolster the legal framework and financial, technical and human resources for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) activities, with a view to discouraging IUU fishing;
- to support Côte d'Ivoire in its efforts to promote regional cooperation instruments covering inspections at sea, such as the introduction of a regional observer programme for tuna fisheries and the setting up of a regional fisheries surveillance centre.
The European Parliamentary committee also called for such coordinated action to include measures to help upgrade the infrastructure at the Abidjan harbour.
There is indeed an interest to explore how EU–ACP fisheries partnerships, including this new protocol of the EU–Côte d’Ivoire agreement, might be aligned with the existing Cotonou Agreement framework, structures and tools. This would form a basis for constructive dialogue between EU and ACP countries on issues of common interest – such as the fight against IUU fishing, and the necessary reinforcement of MCS capacities – and to improve coherence in the actions pursued under the different policies of the EU in these areas namely, in this case, between DG development and DG Mare actions.