The EC published the ex post evaluation for the existing EU–Mozambique FPA protocol, which allows 43 purse seiners and 32 longliners to fish in the Mozambique EEZ, and will expire at the end of January 2015. An ex ante evaluation is also published and supports the potential negotiation and implementation of a new protocol.
The document underlines that it is not only EU tuna vessels active in Mozambique: “Foreign vessels active on the industrial shrimp fisheries operate under charter arrangements with national fishing companies owning the fishing rights. At least until 2012, four of these trawlers were flagged to Portugal. The activities of these four vessels appear to be outside the scope of the FPA and therefore, may be in contravention of the exclusivity clause of the agreement.”
Regarding tuna fisheries, the Mozambique national fleet is currently very limited, but it has a clear ambition to develop its own tuna fishing fleet. This ambition is identified in a fleet development plan submitted to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), which considers the introduction of 130 tuna vessels over the next 15 years. The recent purchase from a French shipyard of 21 new longliners, which will start operating in 2014, may be a first step in that direction.
The evaluation highlights the low utilisation of fishing possibilities negotiated for EU vessels: catches were only about 20% of the reference tonnage of 8,000 tonnes used to calculate the minimum public payments. Fishing opportunities therefore cost six times more than expected (€612/tonne compared with €100/tonne as negotiated). The document also notes that the absence of employment of Mozambican crews, and the lack of utilisation of Mozambique ports means that the agreement has not contributed much to local economic development.
The evaluation also acts as a reminder that Mozambique was the first country in the history of EU FPAs to receive catch data by electronic transmission system. It notes that Mozambique is considering expanding these provisions to all other foreign vessels fishing in their EEZ.
The ex ante evaluation concludes that the renewal of the agreement would have a positive impact on both parties, recommending nevertheless that some improvements (e.g. to landing infrastructure) should be introduced to allow more local long-term benefits.
As for many coastal ACP countries, the challenge for Mozambique is to maximise the social and economic benefits of fish resources in its EEZ. Elements to achieve this for tuna fishing may include owning its own fleet, employing local populations on board vessels as well as in the processing factories, harbour services, etc. Mozambique is now developing its own fleet, but, to date, too little has been done to maximise employment relating to tuna exploitation, through investments in onshore facilities, transport means (for taking processed tuna products to their markets), training, etc. Certainly further efforts could be made in these areas. The small-scale sector already provides many jobs, but its access to resources needs protecting, including against trawler incursions. Faced with diminishing resources – as for coastal shrimps in Mozambique – trawlers have a tendency to come ever closer to the coast to increase their catches. These aspects should also be taken into account when discussing the pertinence of opening up any future access to shrimp trawlers under an SFPA.