Procedure : 2014/0079(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0055/2014

Texts tabled :

A8-0055/2014

Debates :

Votes :

PV 13/01/2015 - 8.2
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0002

RECOMMENDATION     ***
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8.12.2014
PE 537.372 A8-0055/2014

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of the Seychelles on access for fishing vessels flying the flag of the Seychelles to waters and marine biological resources of Mayotte, under the jurisdiction of the European Union

(07911/2014 – C8‑0008/2014 – 2014/0079(NLE))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: Alain Cadec

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 SHORT JUSTIFICATION
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of the Seychelles on access for fishing vessels flying the flag of the Seychelles to waters and marine biological resources of Mayotte, under the jurisdiction of the European Union

(07911/2014 – C8‑0008/2014 – 2014/0079(NLE))

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the draft Council decision (07911/2014),

–       having regard to the draft Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of the Seychelles on access for fishing vessels flying the flag of the Seychelles to waters and marine biological resources of Mayotte, under the jurisdiction of the European Union (07953/2014),

–       having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and paragraph 7, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0008/2014),

–       having regard to Rule 99(1), first and third subparagraphs, and paragraph 2, and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0055/2014),

1.      Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

2.      Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the Republic of the Seychelles.


SHORT JUSTIFICATION

Relations between the EU and the Republic of the Seychelles in the area of fisheries are governed by a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA). This tuna SFPA between the EU and the Seychelles came into force on 10 May 2003 and has been renewed twice since then. This is the EU’s most important agreement in the Indian Ocean, which makes the Seychelles the EU’s leading partner in the region.

The agreement that is the subject of this report is an access agreement signed between the Republic of the Seychelles and the European Union on 3 April 2014. It concerns access by Seychelles-flagged vessels to Mayotte’s waters and biological resources.

The territory of Mayotte acquired the status of an outermost region of the European Union on 1 January 2014. As a result Mayotte’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) now belongs to EU waters. As the EU has exclusive competence for conservation of resources (Article 3, TFEU), the EU is responsible for managing fishery resources and negotiating and managing bilateral agreements concerning Mayotte.

Because Mayotte and the Seychelles are geographically close, before the change in Mayotte’s status relations between EU and Seychelles fishing vessels and Mayotte were subject to a private agreement. This allowed a total of some 30 vessels, including eight Seychelles vessels, to fish migratory species in Mayotte’s waters, while allowing the development of Mayotte’s fishing sector through direct payment of fees by vessel owners to the French authorities in Mayotte.

This agreement between the Republic of the Seychelles and the European Union (for Mayotte) allows a limited number of Seychelles-flagged vessels that have a tradition of fishing in Mayotte’s waters to continue to fish in Mayotte’s EEZ with due regard for the rules of the common fisheries policy.

This access agreement is strategically important in view of the migratory nature of the tuna resource. It also responds to a request from the Republic of the Seychelles for reciprocity in the SFPA with an agreement that enables Seychelles vessel owners to fish in European waters. This agreement will help maintain the privileged relations between the European Union and the Republic of the Seychelles.

This agreement has to be adopted by the Council with the approval of the European Parliament, in accordance with the legislative adoption procedure set out in Article 289(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Content of the agreement

This access agreement is the first of its kind and is thus exceptional as it grants third-country-flagged vessels the right to fish in European waters. It provides access to an area between 24 miles and 100 miles to eight tuna purse-seine vessels and two supply vessels flying the Seychelles flag for a six-year period that can be renewed. The 0-to-24 mile area is reserved for local Mahoran fishing.

The vessel owners pay the fees directly to the European Union in order to obtain a fishing authorisation on board. The fees are collected by France on behalf of the EU and redistributed in Mayotte so as to respond effectively to Mayotte’s sectoral needs with regard to port infrastructure, control activities and the placing of products on the market.

Technical information

•   As in the previous private agreement, the agreement will enable Seychelles-flagged vessels to fish highly migratory species with due regard for the rules of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).

•   It ensures compliance with IOTC resolutions on the good management and preservation of the resource, particularly fishing effort management. The agreement complies with the rules of the EU’s common fisheries policy and thus offers greater transparency than the previous private agreement.

•   The Seychelles vessels fishing under this agreement must unload their catch in the Seychelles port of Victoria, so as to assist the development of the Seychelles fishing and processing economy. The previous agreement did not specify an unloading port.

•   The financial part of the agreement is based on the vessel owners’ fees. They are calculated on the basis of the tonnage fished. The fees have increased compared with the previous private agreement where they amounted to EUR 100 per tonne fished. They now amount to EUR 110 per tonne fished in the first year, EUR 115 per tonne fished in the second and third year, EUR 120 in the fourth and fifth years and EUR 125 in the sixth year.

•   The agreement contains three significant clauses:

- a denunciation clause in the event of grave circumstances relating to failure by one of the parties to respect the commitments made;

- a clause suspending the agreement in the event of a clear violation of human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance as set out in Article 9 of the Cotonou Agreement and in the event of failure to respect basic labour rights as laid down by the International Labour Organization;

- a clause providing for a mid-term review to assess the effectiveness of the agreement three years after its entry into force.

•   A Joint Committee has been set up to oversee the application of the agreement. The parties are free to decide who takes part in the relevant meetings.

•   As the agreement concerns waters under EU jurisdiction there are no financial implications by way of expenditure for the EU budget.

The rapporteur's view

Your rapporteur wishes to give a favourable opinion on this agreement as it benefits both parties, it is beneficial for the economic development of Mayotte and the Seychelles and it complies with the rules of the common fisheries policy and the IOTC as regards preservation of resources.

Nevertheless, as the consent procedure does not entitle Parliament to modify the content of the agreement, your rapporteur would like to stress some important points.

If different species are targeted by local fisheries and Seychelles vessels and this is in accordance with Article 5(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, your rapporteur deplores the fact that the agreement does not provide for a larger zone, going beyond 24 nautical miles, for local Mahoran fishing.

Your rapporteur stresses that Mahoran fishermen must be included in the meetings of the Joint Committee set up under this agreement and involved in all stages of the implementation of the agreement. In this connection your rapporteur has requested a formal undertaking from the French Government that there will be fair redistribution in Mayotte of the total amount of the fees so the Mahoran fishermen can derive full benefit from this.

The French Government is also responsible for making use of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to set up an appropriate administrative framework, monitoring activities, physical infrastructure and adequate capacity to meet common fisheries policy requirements. In particular Mayotte rapidly needs to acquire an unloading port so its fishing and processing sector can be developed.

Consequently, as provided for in Article 2(3) of the Council decision of 10 March 2014 (1) and Article 19 of the interinstitutional agreement of 2 December 2013(2), your rapporteur would like a detailed report on payments by authorised fishing operators and the use of these payments to be sent not only to the Commission but also to the European Parliament.

(1)

COM(2014)0139.

(2)

OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, pp. 1-11.


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

3.12.2014

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

21

2

1

Members present for the final vote

Marco Affronte, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Renata Briano, Alain Cadec, David Coburn, Richard Corbett, Diane Dodds, Linnéa Engström, Ian Hudghton, Carlos Iturgaiz, Werner Kuhn, António Marinho e Pinto, Gabriel Mato, Norica Nicolai, Liadh Ní Riada, Ulrike Rodust, Remo Sernagiotto, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Isabelle Thomas, Ruža Tomašić, Peter van Dalen, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes present for the final vote

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, José Blanco López, Ole Christensen, Ian Duncan, Sylvie Goddyn, Anja Hazekamp, Mike Hookem, Francisco José Millán Mon

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