The EU and Madagascar agreedon a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement

The EU and Madagascar agreed on a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement. Photo: Food Business Africa

On 28 October, the EU and Madagascar agreed on the text of a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement (SFPA), together with its implementing protocol.

This new agreement restores the partnership between the EU and Madagascar that had been interrupted in 2018 and will contribute to good fisheries governance.

An agreement for tuna fisheries

The agreement will allow 65 tuna fishing vessels from EU Member States to access Madagascar waters over a period of 4 years.

In exchange, the EU will:

Provide Madagascar with €700,000 per year to access Madagascar water, based on a reference esteem of catches of 14,000 tons of tuna; and

Dedicate €1.1 million for sectoral support, to accompany the sustainable development of the fisheries sector and the blue economy in Madagascar.

The total EU contribution will be €1.8 million per year.

The new protocol also foresees a new contribution for the protection of ecosystems (paid by fishing vessels owners) and new provisions to encourage cooperation with Madagascar in the context of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).

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Sustainable fisheries partnership agreements (SFPA) with non-EU countries are negotiated and concluded by the Commission on behalf of the EU. They enable EU vessels to fish for surplus stocks in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of third countries. They also focus on resource conservation and environmental sustainability.

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Spanish welcome new agreement which allows 22 fishing vessels from their fleet access

The renewal of the fishing agreement between the European Union (EU) and Madagascar will allow 22 Spanish vessels to return to fishing in the waters of this fishing ground in the Indian Ocean. Of these, 16 are tuna seiners that are based mainly in the Basque Country and 6 are surface longliners with a port in Galicia.

This agreement is of great strategic importance for Spanish vessels, both for the surface longline fleet targeting sharks and swordfish, and for freezer tuna seiners, which catch tropical tuna destined for the canning industry (skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye ) and carry out part of their annual cycle in the Mozambique Channel.

The agreement, which was signed on October 28 in Antananarivo (Madagascar) and communicated today by the European Commission, has been reached after 8 rounds of negotiations. Its renewal will allow the return to this fishing ground, after four years of suspension, of a total of 32 tuna seiners and 33 community surface longliners.

In addition to the fees to be paid by the fishing vessels, the Malagasy side will receive a financial contribution from the EU of 7.2 million euros for a period of 4 years. 1.1 million euros per year correspond to sectoral support for the management of sustainable fishing and the blue economy.

Likewise, the reactivation of the agreement will mean the hiring of local sailors for boarding on community vessels and an increase in activity for local infrastructures, mainly canning, in addition to the shipyard in the port of Antsiranana (formerly Diego Suárez). The new protocol will begin to apply from July 1, 2023, with a duration of 4 years.

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