A proposal for a new protocol to the Kiribati–EU FPA has been finalised. In a press statement, ‘the Commission welcomed this renegotiation that confirms the commitment of the EU to work with its partners on strengthening sustainable fisheries wherever its fleets operate’.
The reference tonnage agreed in the protocol is 15,000 tonnes, which corresponds to fishing authorisations to be allocated to four purse-seiners and six long-liners from Spain, France and Portugal.
According to the EC’s press release, bilateral relationships with countries in the Pacific are important ‘for the regional development in the Pacific and for the strengthening [of] the EU position in regional fisheries organisations such as the (WCPFC)’. This protocol will cover a period of three years.
It needs to be noted that, according to data released earlier on by the Spanish ‘Cluster of Fishing Enterprises in Third Countries’ (CEPPT), another 11,500 tonnes of tuna is caught by vessels under joint ventures in Kiribati, providing employment for 30 crew members from third countries (against 15 Spanish crew members).
The renewal of this protocol is indeed an important tool for covering EU tuna fleets’ activities in the Pacific. It is also interesting to note that vessels of EU origin, like those from the CEPPT, have chosen to form local joint ventures, contributing, like the FPA, to creating jobs and providing a significant amount of tuna to Fiji. It would be important for ACP countries to be able to compare the benefits of these various options for the sustainable development of their own fisheries..