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New protocol for the FPA between the EU and Mozambique

03 March 2012

A press release of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council has announced the signing of a new EU–Mozambique FPA protocol. In this new protocol, the financial contribution, totaling €2,940,000 for three years, is divided into payment for access rights – an annual amount of €520,000 corresponding to a reference tonnage of tuna catches of 8,000 tonnes – and €460,000 per year ‘for the support and implementation of Mozambique's sectoral fisheries policy and maritime policy’.

The agreement also deals with some issues which were mentioned in the latest proceedings of the EU–Mozambique FPA Joint Committee, which highlighted that: ‘In light of the shortcomings observed by the Mozambican administration in catch declarations by ship-owners, the Commission reiterated the need for member states to ensure compliance with this mandatory provision of the protocol. For the future protocol, the electronic logbook shall be envisaged to allow real-time data transmission’. To address this concern, the new protocol stipulates that ‘the two parties shall establish from 1 January 2012 a protocol for the electronic exchange of all catch and reporting data based on an electronic logbook: the two parties shall then plan the implementation of the protocol and the replacement of the paper version of the catch reporting with an electronic version by 1 July 2012’. Compulsory catch reports cover tuna species, but also shark species.

The Fisheries Council adopted also a regulation concerning the allocation of fishing opportunities between member states. These fishing possibilities will benefit tuna purse-seiners (Spain: 22 vessels, France: 20 vessels, Italy: 1 vessel) and surface long-liners (Spain: 16 vessels, France: 8 vessels, Portugal: 7 vessels, United Kingdom: 1 vessel).

Editorial comment

The new protocol already reflects elements proposed by the EC for the reformed CFP, in particular a clear delinking of payments for access and support to sectoral policy. Another welcome novelty is the introduction of electronic logbooks. Indeed, the lack of compliance and enforcement for catch reporting by EU vessels has been a long-standing concern of ACP countries having a tuna FPA.

The tuna agreement with Mozambique is part of the network of tuna agreements in the Indian Ocean, and the activities of tuna fleets in the Mozambique agreement have to be placed in the regional context. Regarding the catches of sharks, there is concern in the IOTC, the regional fisheries management organisation, over the high but unknown levels of exploitation of some species of shark. The situation will have to be closely monitored to ensure that all IOTC measures that may be taken to ensure shark conservation is adequately addressed and reflected in EU tuna agreements.

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