Procedure : 2016/0077(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0010/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0010/2017

Debates :

Votes :

PV 14/02/2017 - 8.1
CRE 14/02/2017 - 8.1

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0019

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30.1.2017
PE 582.199v02-00 A8-0010/2017

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the Cook Islands and the Implementation Protocol thereto

(07592/2016 – C8-0431/2016 – 2016/0077(NLE))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: João Ferreira

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 SHORT JUSTIFICATION
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Budgets
 PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the Cook Islands and the Implementation Protocol thereto

(07592/2016 – C8-0431/2016 – 2016/0077(NLE))

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (07592/2016),

–  having regard to the draft Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the Cook Islands and the Implementation Protocol thereto (07594/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and (7), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0431/2016),

–  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 14 February 2017(1) on the draft Council decision,

–  having regard to Rule 99(1) and (4), and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Budgets (A8-0010/2017),

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 Cook Islands.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0000.


SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The Cook Islands, an archipelago of 15 Pacific islands divided into two groups, have a population of about 15 000 (2011 figures). They have a special relationship with New Zealand whereby they share New Zealand’s currency and all Cook Islanders are entitled to New Zealand nationality. The fisheries sector accounts for 3% of the Cook Islands’ GDP, a figure which remained constant in the period from 2007 to 2011 while GDP grew by roughly 34%, and its importance has thus declined in relation to the local economy as a whole. Exports of fishery products in 2011 amounted to EUR 1.35 million.

Tuna catches by the domestic fleet between 2007 and 2010 totalled less than 3 000 tonnes, consisting primarily of yellowfin tuna. There are 19 longliners flying the Cook Islands flag, and non-industrial small-scale fishing makes up the rest of the sector. Catches rose to 3 984 tonnes in 2011, with increases in the quantities of yellowfin and bigeye tuna. Domestic tuna catches are, for the most part, landed outside the Cook Islands (those landed at the port of Avatiu on Rarotonga, no more than about 250 tonnes a year, cover domestic consumption and exports to New Zealand and Japan).

The Cook Islands exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which borders Kiribati, Tokelau, French Polynesia, American Samoa, Niue, and high sea areas, extends over 1.98 million km2. This adds to the economic potential of the fisheries sector, but also entails problems as regards monitoring and control, since illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing is difficult to tackle over so vast an area in which resources are scattered so widely.

The Cook Islands have traditionally allowed vessels from other countries to have access to their EEZ. The agreements in question, however, were concluded on a private basis for purely commercial purposes and thus make it harder to build relations based on stock sustainability criteria; their impact on certain tuna species and coastal communities has been considerable.

Catches in 2011 by vessels from countries that fish in the Cook Islands EEZ amounted to 1 516 tonnes by US purse seiners (the only purse seiner fleet in the Cook Islands). However, the volume is thought to have risen to more than 12 000 tonnes in 2012 (no exact figures are available) because bonito biomass was displaced by El Niño and a canning factory was reopened in American Samoa, opening up new economic opportunities in the region. Longliner catches increased to 6 696 tonnes in 2011. Longlining fishing licences (31) are held mainly by vessels from China (16) and Vanuatu (9). The annual longlining licence fees stood in 2012 at less than EUR 5 000 for the two locally based national vessels and ranged from EUR 25 718 for non-national vessels less than 40 metres long to EUR 48 222 for non-national vessels more than 40 metres long. The US has 39 licences for purse seining in the region, but only 16 were used in 2012 in Cook Islands waters, giving a total financial contribution (access cost and development aid) of USD 7 875 (EUR 6 406) per day.

At present there are no EU vessels fishing in Cook Islands waters. The European fleet operating in the region consists of purse seiners. Given that EU longliner catches have tended to be located in the warmer waters to the south of the Cook Islands and bearing in mind the requirements of the Cook Islands’ shark conservation regulations, the ex ante assessment found that there will be no interest in the future for EU longliners to fish in the Cook Islands EEZ.

Concluding a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement is a strategic choice for the EU and the Cook Islands that will provide fishing opportunities for vessels flying the flags of Member States, theoretically on the basis of the best scientific advice available, subject to compliance with the conservation and management measures laid down by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) within the limits of the available surplus. The decision to opt for an agreement in this context is supported by the above-mentioned ex ante assessment, carried out in June 2013 by external experts, which concluded that, in view of the direct negotiation carried on between vessels and the Cook Islands authorities, drawing up a protocol would be the best solution in the long term for the sustainability of fish stocks, respect for workers’ rights, and the development of the two parties’ fisheries sectors.

The Protocol provides for fishing opportunities for four tuna seiners. Taking into account the requirements under the agreements applying to the Western and Central Pacific (Kiribati and the Solomon Islands), the Protocol will enable Member States’ fleets to remain in their present operating environment and help to create a network of fishing opportunities that could bring benefits in the long run.

The annual financial contribution under the agreement is to be EUR 735 000 for the first and second years and EUR 700 000 for the third and fourth years, this being based on:

(a) a reference tonnage of 7 000 tonnes, for which the access-related amounts have been set at EUR 385 000 for the first and the second years and EUR 350 000 for the third and fourth years; and

(b) support for development of the Cook Islands’ sectoral fisheries policy, amounting to EUR 350 000 for the first, second, third, and fourth years. This is in line with the aims of national fisheries policy, not least the Cook Islands’ needs both as regards support for scientific research and small-scale fisheries and as regards monitoring, control, surveillance, and measures to combat illegal fishing.

One point which the rapporteur would like to stress is that the contributions intended to support the development of the Cook Islands’ sectoral fisheries policy range between 47.6% and 50% of the total to be transferred, which, in percentage terms, amounts to a major contribution. Support for sectoral development is the real contribution to the sustainability of a partner country, as it helps to enhance the country’s operational independence, underpin its development strategy, and guarantee its sovereignty. It is the opposite of the neo-colonial approach of ‘paying to help oneself’ – in so doing exploiting resources and communities to the limit – which often determines the reality of partnerships with non-member countries.

When assessing the implementation of the Protocol, the Commission should always bear in mind that the Cook Islands are pursuing a clearly defined strategic policy with a view to increasing their capacity for monitoring, control, and surveillance of their fish stocks and the fishing carried out in their waters, with particular emphasis on measures to combat IUU fishing, improving available scientific knowledge about local marine ecosystems and fish stocks in their waters, and developing locally based non-industrial fisheries and the communities that depend on them so as to increase their contribution to the local economy, help improve safety on board and fishermen’s income, and support the development of local facilities for processing and marketing of fish, be it to supply the domestic market or for export.

The rapporteur recommends that Parliament approve the conclusion of the Protocol, given its importance both to the Cook Islands and to the EU fleets operating in their waters.

However, he also feels that the agreement and its future prospects need to be assessed and studied in more detail. Bearing in mind Parliament’s role and remit in this area, he considers it appropriate and necessary to adopt a non-legislative resolution on this agreement, setting out considerations and recommendations which, it is to be hoped, the Commission will take into account during the life of the Protocol and any related future negotiations.

The rapporteur would highlight certain points that call for particular attention.

  - When concluding the agreement, the benefits to the two parties must always be taken into account, and the fishing opportunities to be provided for EU vessels in the Cook Islands fishing zone should be accorded the same priority as the other goals. Cooperation between the EU and the Cook Islands should be promoted with a view to bringing about a sustainable fisheries policy and sound exploitation of fish stocks in the Cook Islands fishing zone and of related industries and activities, taking into account the Cook Islands’ strategic development policy in order to enable the country to obtain greater added value by capitalising on its natural resources.

- Synergies should be fostered between the sectoral support to be provided under the fisheries agreement and the means of support available for regional development and cooperation, laying emphasis on sovereign development.

- Improvements need to be made as regards the quantity and accuracy of data on catches and, more generally, the conservation status of fish stocks, and a joint scientific committee should be set up with a view to securing the involvement of organisations representing the fisheries sector.

- All policy-making and assessment processes should, to the greatest extent possible, draw on the participation of stakeholders, including coastal communities.

- If fish prices rise, leading to correspondingly higher access costs, the EU will not be able to negotiate access for EU vessels in return for fees close to what have hitherto been the going rates in the region.

Finally, the rapporteur stresses that Parliament must, at every stage, be kept fully informed without delay about procedures related to the Protocol or its renewal. A report should be submitted annually to Parliament and the Council on the outcome of the multiannual sectoral programme referred to in Article 3 of the Protocol.


OPINION of the Committee on Development (1.9.2016)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the Cook Islands and the Implementation Protocol thereto

(COM(2016)0146 – C8-0000/2016 – 2016/0077(NLE))

Rapporteur: Maurice Ponga

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The Cook Islands are an archipelago of nine islands located in the South Pacific, with a population of some 18 000. In 2014, the Cook Islands were classified as an ‘upper-middle income country’, with a per capita GDP of approximately EUR 12 000. Nevertheless, their economy is susceptible to external shocks and is vulnerable, mainly because the country is isolated from foreign markets, lacks natural resources, and has a small population and poor infrastructure. The tourism industry generates 60% of its GDP, whereas fishing accounts for only 2%.

The fisheries agreement that was negotiated and initialled on 21 October 2015 marked a new stage in relations between the Cook Islands and the EU. It aims to promote sustainable fisheries policies based on the responsible exploitation of maritime resources.

The agreement has been concluded for a period of eight years, and its Implementation Protocol for a renewable period of four years. It provides for access for four EU tuna seiners and sets a reference tonnage for highly migratory species of 7 000 tonnes a year.

The EU’s yearly contribution breaks down as follows: EUR 735 000 for the first and second years and EUR 700 000 for the two years thereafter. An annual budget of EUR 350 000 is earmarked for developing fisheries policy in the Cook Islands. Access rights payments by European shipowners supplement the EU’s annual contribution.

Your rapporteur stresses the significance for the Cook Islands of the amounts allocated in the agreement. The annual sectoral budget exceeds that provided for under the eleventh EDF – EUR 200 000 over seven years. What is more, the agreement will enable the EU to promote sustainable and responsible fishing in the Pacific region.

Your rapporteur takes the view that the agreement and its protocol meet all the criteria set in the context of the new CFP, specifically because they are transparent, preserve resources, promote responsible and sustainable fishing, combat IUU fishing, and uphold human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. For these reasons, your rapporteur is proposing that the agreement and its protocol be approved.

******

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to recommend that Parliament give its consent to the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the Cook Islands and the Implementation Protocol thereto.

PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Title

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the Cook Islands

References

 

Committee responsible

 

PECH

 

 

 

 

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Maurice Ponga

3.5.2016

Discussed in committee

11.7.2016

 

 

 

Date adopted

31.8.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

1

2

Members present for the final vote

Louis Aliot, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Ignazio Corrao, Manuel dos Santos, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Nathan Gill, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Maria Heubuch, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Stelios Kouloglou, Arne Lietz, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, Cristian Dan Preda, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Eleni Theocharous, Paavo Väyrynen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Rainer Wieland, Anna Záborská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Brian Hayes

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Liliana Rodrigues


OPINION of the Committee on Budgets (11.10.2016)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the Cook Islands and the Implementation Protocol thereto

(COM(2016)0146 – C8-0000/2016 – 2016/0077(NLE))

Rapporteur: Indrek Tarand

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

On the basis of the relevant negotiating directives, the European Commission has conducted negotiations with the Government of the Cook Islands with a view to concluding a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and an Implementation Protocol thereto between the European Union and the Cook Islands.

Following these negotiations, a new Agreement and Protocol were initialled on 21 October 2015. They cover a period of eight years and four years respectively from the date of their provisional application, i.e. from the date of their signature.

The new Agreement will provide for a framework taking into account the priorities of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy and its external dimension, with a view to establishing a strategic partnership between the European Union and the Cook Islands.

The main objective of the new Protocol is to provide fishing opportunities to Union vessels in the Cook Islands fishing zone, on the basis of the best available scientific advice and respecting the conservation and management measures of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) where applicable within the limits of the available surplus.

The aim is also to enhance cooperation between the European Union and the Cook Islands to promote a sustainable fisheries policy and sound exploitation of fisheries resources in the Cook Islands’ fishing zone, in the interests of both parties

The total financial contribution shall be EUR 2 870 000 for the whole duration of this Protocol. This total financial contribution shall comprise two dissociated elements:

•  an annual amount for access to the Cook Islands' fishery areas of EUR 385 000 for the first and second year, and of EUR 350 000 for the third and fourth year, equivalent to a reference tonnage of 7 000 tonnes per year, and

•  a specific annual amount of EUR 350 000 for the support and implementation of the Cook Islands' sectoral fisheries policy.

******

The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to recommend that Parliament give its consent to the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the Cook Islands and the Implementation Protocol thereto.

The Committee on Budgets suggests to the Committee on Fisheries that it should adopt an accompanying non-legislative resolution including the following paragraph:

•  Calls on the Commission to submit to Parliament and the Council, before the Protocol expires or before negotiations for its possible replacement begin, an ex-post evaluation of the Protocol, including a cost-benefit analysis.

PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Title

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Government of the Cook Islands

References

COM(2016)01462016/0077(NLE)

Committee responsible

 

PECH

 

 

 

 

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Indrek Tarand

26.5.2016

Discussed in committee

31.8.2016

 

 

 

Date adopted

11.10.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

31

3

1

Members present for the final vote

Nedzhmi Ali, Jonathan Arnott, Jean Arthuis, Richard Ashworth, Reimer Böge, Lefteris Christoforou, Jean-Paul Denanot, Gérard Deprez, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Jens Geier, Esteban González Pons, Ingeborg Gräßle, Iris Hoffmann, Monika Hohlmeier, Bernd Kölmel, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Vladimír Maňka, Ernest Maragall, Siegfried Mureşan, Jan Olbrycht, Urmas Paet, Paul Rübig, Petri Sarvamaa, Patricija Šulin, Eleftherios Synadinos, Indrek Tarand, Isabelle Thomas, Inese Vaidere, Daniele Viotti, Auke Zijlstra

Substitutes present for the final vote

Afzal Khan, Derek Vaughan

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Edouard Ferrand


PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Title

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Government of the Cook Islands

References

07592/2016 – C8-0431/2016 – COM(2016)01462016/0077(NLE)

Date of consultation / request for consent

20.10.2016

 

 

 

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

PECH

27.10.2016

 

 

 

Committees asked for opinions

       Date announced in plenary

DEVE

27.10.2016

BUDG

27.10.2016

 

 

Rapporteurs

       Date appointed

João Ferreira

27.4.2016

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

15.6.2016

11.10.2016

5.12.2016

 

Date adopted

26.1.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

4

0

Members present for the final vote

Marco Affronte, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Renata Briano, Alain Cadec, Richard Corbett, Diane Dodds, Linnéa Engström, Mike Hookem, Ian Hudghton, Carlos Iturgaiz, Werner Kuhn, António Marinho e Pinto, Gabriel Mato, Liadh Ní Riada, Ulrike Rodust, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Remo Sernagiotto, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Ruža Tomašić, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes present for the final vote

Ian Duncan, Verónica Lope Fontagné

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

João Pimenta Lopes

Date tabled

30.1.2017

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