The European Parliament Development Committee has voted on a report on ‘Policy coherence for development’, which includes some aspect s dealing with fisheries, regarding market access, transferable fishing concessions (TFCs), and transparency in FPAs.
On market access, the Development Committee considers that the EU should ensure that EU fleets’ activities should be based on the same environmental, social and transparency standards inside and outside EU waters, and that this coherence will require coordination within the EC, as well as between the EC and member states.
Regarding TFCs, the Committee considers that the EU should oppose the introduction of TFC schemes in RFMOs, ‘since they would jeopardise the livelihood and well being of dependent communities of developing countries’.
In the report, the Committee also welcomes ‘the example of transparency that the EU has set in a global context by publishing the conditions of its Fisheries Partnerships Agreements’, and urges the EC to ensure that the evaluations of these agreements are also publicly available, ‘respecting the principles of the Aarhus Convention, for the purpose of enabling local parliaments, civil society and other stakeholders to effectively scrutinise the implementation and impact of the agreements’.
The Committee also stressed in the report that the EU must ensure that the current reform of the CFP is mainstreamed with its commitment towards developing countries to support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as well as the basic human right to food, as recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Many EU member states have not only fishing interests in ACP waters, but also long-standing cooperation relations in the area of fisheries. Indeed, a better coordination between these member states’ administrations and the EC could help improve the ‘Policy coherence for development’ addressed in the EP Development Committee report. Transparency is recognised as another key ingredient for coherence, and it should be recognised that the EC has recently started to make evaluations of FPAs publicly available.
Finally, the report’s emphasis that the CFP should take account of the right to food is also important, in particular for the discussions on access to stocks that are key for food security, such as the stocks of small pelagics in West Africa.