REPORT on the proposal for a Council Regulation concerning the conclusion of the Protocol establishing the fishing possibilities and the financial compensation provided for in the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on fishing off the coast of Guinea-Bissau for the period 16 June 1997 to 15 June 2001 (COM(97)0395 - C4-0448/97 - 97/0205(CNS))

2 October 1997

Committee on Fisheries
Rapporteur: Mr Josu Jon Imaz San Miguel

By letter of 8 September 1997 the Council consulted Parliament, pursuant to Article 43 in conjunction with Article 228(2) and (3), first subparagraph of the EC Treaty, on the proposal for a Council Regulation on the conclusion of the Protocol establishing the fishing possibilities and the financial compensation provided for in the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on fishing off the coast of Guinea-Bissau for the period 16 June 1997 to 15 June 2001.

At the sitting of 15 September 1997 the President of Parliament announced that he had referred this proposal to the Committee on Fisheries as the committee responsible and the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Development and Cooperation for their opinions.

At its meeting of 24 June 1997 the Committee on Fisheries had appointed Mr Josu Jon Imaz San Miguel rapporteur.

It considered the Commission proposal and the draft report at its meetings of 24 June,16 and 29 September 1997.

At the last meeting it adopted the draft legislative resolution by 15 votes to 1, with 0 abstentions.

The following took part in the vote: Fraga Estévez, chairman; Kindermann, Macartney and Souchet, vice-chairmen; Imaz San Miguel, rapporteur; d"Aboville, Adam, Arias Cañete (for Cunha), Baldarelli, Chichester (for Langenhagen), Gallagher, Medina Ortega, Provan, Sonneveld (for Burtone), Teverson and Varela Suanzes-Carpegna.

The opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Developmetn and Cooperation are attached.

The report was tabled on 2 October 1997.

The deadline for tabling amendments will be indicated in the draft agenda for the relevant partsession.

A LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL - DRAFT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Proposal for a Council Regulation concerning the conclusion of the Protocol establishing the fishing possibilities and the financial compensation provided for in the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on fishing off the coast of Guinea-Bissau for the period 16 June 1997 to 15 June 2001 (COM(97)0395 - C40448/97 - 97/0205(CNS))

The proposal was approved with the following amendments:

Commission text[1]

Parliament"s amendments

(Amendment 1)

Recital 6 (new)

Whereas it is important to improve the information provided to the budgetary authority and whereas the Commission shall submit an annual report on the progress in applying the present Agreement in order to facilitate decision-making under the annual budgetary procedure,

(Amendment 2)

Recital 7 (new)

Whereas, in accordance with the interinstitutional agreement on budgetary discipline of 29 October 1993, the expenditure relating to this Protocol shall be noncompulsory expenditure,

(Amendment 3)

Article 2a (new)

Article 2aDuring the final year of application of the Protocol and before any agreement is concluded on renewing it, the Commission shall submit to the Council and Parliament a report on the application and conditions of implementation of the Agreement.

(Amendment 4)

Article 2b (new)

Article 2bOn the basis of that report and after having consulted the European Parliament, the Council shall issue the Commission with a brief to negotiate the protocols implementing the present Agreement.

Legislative resolution embodying Parliament"s opinion on the proposal for a Council Regulation concerning the conclusion of the Protocol establishing the fishing possibilities and the financial compensation provided for in the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on fishing off the coast of GuineaBissau for the period 16 June 1997 to 15 June 2001 (COM(97)0395 - C4-0448/97 - 97/0205(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council, COM(97)0395 - 97/0205(CNS))FNOJ C <[2],

- having been consulted by the Council pursuant to Article 43 in conjunction with Article 228(2) and (3), first subparagraph of the EC Treaty (C4-0448/97),

- having regard to Rule 58 of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Development and Cooperation (A4-0300/97),

1. Approves the Commission proposal, subject to Parliament"s amendments;

2. Calls on the Council to notify Parliament should it intend to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

3. Asks to be consulted again should the Council intend to make substantial modifications to the Commission proposal;

4. Instructs its President to forward this opinion to the Council and Commission.

  • [1] () OJ C 269, 5.9.1997, p. 5.
  • [2] () OJ C 269, 5.9.1997, p. 5.

B EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

INTRODUCTION

By letter of ... the Council consulted the European Parliament on a proposal for a regulation on the conclusion of a Protocol establishing the fishing possibilities and the financial compensation provided for in the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau for the period 16 June 1997 to 15 June 2001.

Relations in the sphere of fisheries between the European Union and Guinea-Bissau date back to 1980, when the first Protocol was signed. The Agreements have been renewed regularly up until now for two-year periods.

The proposal in question concerns the Protocol initialled on 4 June 1997 between the European Union and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau establishing the fishing possibilities and the corresponding financial compensation for a four-year period, which may be applied on a provisional basis with effect from 16 June 1997 to ensure continuity in fishing relations. The Community in turn undertakes to pay the first annual instalment agreed on before 31 December 1997.

The main volumes involved over the years in the fisheries agreement with Guinea-Bissau are set out clearly in the table attached to this report, which enables the main elements of the Agreement to be analysed through a study of the successive Protocols.

SUBSTANCE OF THE PROPOSAL

1. Fishing possibilities

The fishing possibilities set out in this Protocol match the requests made to the Commission by the Member States and the actual extent to which the fishing possibilities negotiated in the previous Protocol were utilized.

The first article provides for a gross registered tonnage for freezer shrimp trawlers of 9000 gross registered tonnes (GRT) per year, in place of the 8800 GRT/year provided for in the previous Protocol, with a decrease of 1000 GRT/year for cephalopod and fin-fish trawlers in that the GRT is reduced from 4000 to 3000 per year in the present Protocol.

The reduction of these volumes for cephalopods and fin-fish is in line with the volume of catches in previous years, when the Community fleet used barely 20% of the volume of catches agreed on.

In the case of shrimp trawlers, a sector in which the take-up of the volumes agreed on was very satisfactory (amounting to approximately 93%), there is now an increase of 800 GRT/year compared with the previous Protocol.

Moreover, in Article 3 the Agreement stipulates that the fishing possibilities in the abovementioned sectors may be increased if fishing resources permit, with a proportional increase in the financial compensation.

As far as tuna vessels are concerned, the Protocol stipulates that licences may be granted to 37 tuna seiners and 52 pole-and-line vessels and longliners; this amounts to a substantial increase in licences, bearing in mind that the previous Protocol granted licences to 26 seiners and 16 pole-and-line vessels and longliners. This increase is appropriate, given the extent to which the fishing possibilities in this sector were utilized during the period of the previous Protocol, namely, over 88%.

2. The cost of the agreement

The financial compensation provided for in the Protocol totals ECU 34 000 000, payable in four annual instalments of ECU 8 500 000 each.

The total cost of the agreement includes a series of budget items earmarked for funding:

- a scientific or technical programme to improve information on fishery resources (ECU 300 000), which means that the amounts provided for in the previous Protocol are maintained;

- awards for study and practical training in the various scientific, technical and economic disciplines relating to fisheries (ECU 400 000), which is four times the amount provided for in the previous Protocol;

- ECU 200 000 as institutional support for the Ministry of Fisheries;

- ECU 300 000 as aid for small-scale fishing;

- ECU 800 000 for marine surveillance programmes.

3. Licences

The cost to shipowners of using the fishing possibilities provided for in the Protocol is similar to the previous Protocol, involving an increase of 5% per year in licence fees as from the fourth 12-month period of application of the Protocol.

The licence fees are as follows (ECU/GRT):

- Freezer trawlers

12 months 6 months 3 months

- Shrimp trawlers 266 137 70

- Cephalopod trawlers 209 108 55

- Fin-fish trawlers 188 97 50

- Tuna vessels and surface longliners: the fees shall be ECU 20 per tonne per year caught within Guinea-Bissau"s fishing zone. Licences shall be issued following payment to the Ministry of Fisheries of a lump sum of ECU 1800 per year for each tuna seiner (previously ECU 1500 per year), ECU 300 per year for each pole-and-line tuna vessel and ECU 500 per year for each surface longliner (previously ECU 300 per year), covering the fees for: 90 tonnes of tuna caught per year in the case of seiners, 15 tonnes caught per year in the case of pole-and-line tuna vessels and 25 tonnes caught per year in the case of surface longliners.

If the amount of fish caught exceeds these quantities, shipowners shall pay additional charges on a pro rata basis to the Government of Guinea-Bissau, with the final statement of the fees due to be drawn up at the end of each calendar year on the basis of the catch statements.

The Protocol stipulates that fin-fish trawlers may not hold on board crustaceans or cephalopods accounting per species for more than 9% of their total catch. Cephalopod trawlers may not hold on board crustaceans accounting for more than 9% of their total catch in Guinea-Bissau"s fishing zone.

Pole-and-line tuna vessels may be authorized to fish for live bait with a view to carrying out their fishing activities in Guinea-Bissau"s fishing zone.

4. Signing-on of local seamen

Community shipowners fishing in Guinea-Bissau waters shall employ the following numbers of local seamen, paying their salary and relevant social security contributions:

for trawlers:

- three seamen on vessels of less than 250 GRT

- four seamen/fishermen on vessels of 250 to 400 GRT- five seamen on vessels of more than 400 GRT.

(The Protocol contains a reference stating that Community shipowners shall strive to ensure that at least one-third of the crew signed on to their vessels are Guinea-Bissau seamen, selected by shipowners from a list to be drawn up by common accord by the Joint Technical Committee set up to deal with matters arising in the management of the Agreement.)

tuna fishing vessels and longliners:

- for the fleet of tuna seiners, 7 Guinea-Bissau seamen shall be signed on permanently (previously, 4 seamen),

- for the fleet of pole-and-line tuna vessels and surface longliners, up to 17 Guinea-Bissau seamen shall be signed on (previously 6 seamen) for the tuna fishing season, all of them to be assigned two different vessels.

5. Observers on board

The Agreement provides for observers from Guinea-Bissau to be taken on board to check that the fishery regulations are complied with. Community vessels must offer the observers every facility needed to carry out their duties, according them the conditions enjoyed by officers of the vessels.

The Protocol stipulates that each trawler shall take on board an observer designated by the GuineaBissau Government, whose salary shall be paid by that government.

However, Community vessels shall contribute to the cost of the observation programme by paying the sum of ECU 8 per GRT per year for each vessel fishing in Guinea-Bissau waters.

6. Fishing zones

Freezer trawlers shall be authorized to fish in waters beyond 12 nautical miles from the base lines.

REMARKS

The rapporteur believes that the terms of the new Protocol concluded between the EU and GuineaBissau are favourable for the following reasons:

1. As pointed out in section 1, the fishing possibilities that have been negotiated correspond to the real rates of use under the previous Protocol. This adjustment amounts to an improvement in the cost effectiveness of the fishing possibilities obtained and the cost of Community financial compensation.

It is to be welcomed that, unlike the previous Protocol, the new Protocol has not assigned specific quotas per country for the fishing possibilities that have been negotiated. This had previously caused unnecessary rigidity in the use of resources by the fishing fleets of the various Member States.

2. Special emphasis has been laid on the conservation of resources, in that Article 3 stipulates that the fishing possibilities agreed on may only be increased if fishing resources permit.

This conservationist tendency can also be seen in the substantial increase in the funding allocated to maritime surveillance (ECU 800 000), which is quadrupled compared with the previous Protocol.

3. Special attention is also given to developing the local fisheries sector, which contributes to selfsufficiency in food supplies for the people of Guinea-Bissau. ECU 300 000 have been earmarked for programmes to support small-scale fishing.

4. The fact that the Protocol has been established for a four-year period (since 1980 up until the present time the Protocols were only ever negotiated for two-year periods) is a very positive sign. This enables shipowners and economic operators to plan ahead and carry out their activities more rationally and effectively.

5. The Commission is to be congratulated on the considerable improvement in interinstitutional cooperation, which has enabled the text of the Protocol to be forwarded to Parliament with due speed, although it is available only in the Portuguese and French versions.

CONCLUSIONS

In view of the considerations outlined above, the rapporteur, on behalf of the Committee on Fisheries, recommends that Parliament deliver a favourable opinion, including the amendments proposed in this report, on the Commission proposals on the Protocol establishing the fishing possibilities and the financial compensation provided for in the fisheries Agreement between the European Economic Community and Guinea-Bissau.

!!! The following table cannot be reproduced in HTML - Please refer to the WP or the PDF version !!!

30 September 1997

OPINION

(Rule 147)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the proposal for a Council Regulation on the conclusion of the Protocol establishing the fishing possibilities and the financial compensation provided for in the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on fishing off the coast of GuineaBissau for the period 16 June 1997 to 15 June 2001(COM(97)0395 - C4-0448 – 97/0205 (CNS)); (report by Mr Imaz San Miguel)

Committee on Budgets

Draftswoman: Mrs Karin Jöns

PROCEDURE

At its meeting of 23 September 1997 the Committee on Budgets appointed Mrs Karin Jöns draftswoman.

It considered the draft opinion at its meeting of 29 September 1997.

At this meeting it adopted the following conclusions with 1 vote against.

The following took part in the vote: Tillich, vice-chairman and acting chairman; Jöns, draftswoman (for Bösch); Brinkhorst, Colom i Naval, Dankert, Dührkop Dührkop, Elles, Fabra Vallés, Imaz San Miguel, McCartin, Tappin and Wynn.

1. THE COMMISSION PROPOSAL AND ITS ANTECEDENTS

The Procedure

1.1 On the 4th of June 1997, a new protocol defining the fishing opportunities and the financial compensation for Guinea Bissau for the period from 16 June 1997 to 15 June 2001 was initialled following negotiations with the Commission.

1.2 On the 5th of June, the Commission services informed the secretariat of the Fisheries Committee about the new protocol initialled. Attached to this document was the agreement in the form of an exchange of letters where the Commission was giving its agreement on behalf of the EU to proceed to the provisional implementation of this protocol by paying 25% of the financial compensation before the 31 December 1997 (8,5 MECU - 1st instalment). However none of these documents did include the financial statement concerning this protocol.

1.3 On 12.09.1997 the committee on budgets was informed by the Commission on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement in the form of an exchange of letters concerning the provisional application of this new proposal for a protocol, as well as on the proposal for a Council Regulation adopting this new protocol. Then, the Commission informed that the Council was expected to consult the European Parliament, only on the proposal for a Regulation. These two proposals include the transmission of the financial statement.

1.4 On 15th September 1997 the Council consulted officially the EP on the proposal for a Regulation, which included the financial statement.

1.5 The committee on fisheries has asked the committee on budgets to adopt its opinion as soon as possible in order to facilitate the adoption of the EP opinion before the 31st of December. This request is being made on the basis of the code of conduct adopted last December on International Fisheries agreements (nΊ 3, 2nd paragraph) where the three institutions undertake as part of the legislative process to make every effort to ensure that all procedures are carried out as soon as possible.

The results of the budgetary conciliation (24th July)

1.6 During last budgetary conciliation the Council has accepted within the "ad hoc procedure" the reduction of PDB of -5 MECU in c.a. proposed by the European Parliament. This reduction of the line reflects the fact that the Council agrees with the European Parliament that there are no reasons to enter in the line appropriations as "safety net". On the other hand the total amount entered in the line B7-8000 by the Council in c.a. and p.a. was decided on the basis of the Commission commitment not to do any payment before the European Parliament opinion is adopted. Such a fact can also be envisaged as an important step in the cooperation between the two arms of the budgetary authority in insuring a correct and sound management of item B78000.

The Significance of the Council's and Commission's Acts

1.7 The following points arise from this procedure:

- the EP consultation on the modification of a fishing protocol occured three months after negotiations with the third country were concluded; the EP having therefore about three months to adopt its position.

- the Commission had the intention to proceed to the provisional implementation six months after the conclusion of negotiations of the protocol. The Commission introduced in the agreement, in the form of an exchange of letters, a paragraph where it confirms the EU agreement with the provisional implementation of this protocol, without having previously consulted the EP on it. That is why a decision with financial implications could be taken by the Council and implemented by the Commission without hearing the opinion of the other branch of the Budgetary Authority and without having a sufficient legal base from the Treaty;

- if the payment of the financial contribution would be made before the EP adopts its opinion on the Regulation (expected for next November plenary session), this means that the Commission considers the Council decision a sufficient legal base by which to pay the EU financial contribution;

1.8 The Committee on Budgets and the EP have protested several times against this kind of Council and Commission behaviour. It is unacceptable that the Council systematically decides upon the provisional application of these protocols without EP consultation, and that the Commission committed itself to pay part of the financial compensation to the third country independently of the adoption of the EP opinion. After the adoption of the code of conduct such a behaviour assumes special meaning. However, the commitment taken by the Commission during the trialogue of 26 of June 1997 and confirmed on 24 July budgetary conciliation for not paying any contribution before the European Parliament opinion is adopted is an important step in the solution of this problem.

1.9 At the beginning of this year the Committee on Budgets has decided upon the general strategy to be followed on the consultations on this sector (see Working Document of 27 January 1997, PE 220.379). The Committee on Budgets has clearly supported your rapporteurs proposal and the EP December 1996 resolution, according to which the correct implementation of the code of conduct by the Council and the Commission should also mean that provisional implementation of agreements should no longer be necessary.

Accordingly, the Commission shall in the letter and the spirit of the code of conduct, insured that the deadline for the first payment is long enough after negotiations are closed. Such a deadline should be decided taking into account the time needed for the bureaucratic procedures to be done (i.e., translation, editing), for the Council to consult the EP and this one to adopt its opinion. Whenever the Commission would not be able to impose the necessary deadline for the first payment, the Council should ensure, also within the letter and the spirit of the code of conduct, the EP consultation at least three/four months before the deadline for the first payment agreed .

1.10 On the request of the Committee on Budgets for an examination of the provisional implementation on the Mauritania agreement, the Committee on Legal Affairs has confirmed its interests on the subject of the provisional implementation and on "implications qui en découlent, en particulier lorsque le PE est consulté sur la base de la procédure d'avis conforme.

Ce dernier est, en effet, préjugé si l'accord est appliqué - même provisoirement - avant que le PE ne soit prononcé."

1.11 The correct application of the treaty and of the code of conduct means that the normal EP consultation procedure should take place in due time and the Council should avoid the systematic utilization of atypical procedures such as the provisional application of international protocols. The third country, being aware of the fact that no payment could be made before the EP consultation procedure is concluded (which always take about 3/4 months), should be interested in not delaying negotiations unnecessarily. The above referred Commission commitment not to do any payment before adoption of EP opinion (point 1.6) is a good first step to avoid such a situation.

2.THE CONTENTS OF THE PROTOCOL AND ITS FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

2.1 On the basis of the text of the protocol and of the financial statement, the draftswoman is in a position at the moment to confirm that:

- The cost of this protocol is estimated up to a total amount of 36 MECU (34 MECU to be paid in four annual instalments of 8.5 MECU as financial compensation, and 2 MECU for scientific and technical programme (0.3), training (0.4) and support to the national public Administration (0.2), maritime surveillance (0.8) and small scale fishing (0.3).

The budgetary impact of this Protocol is estimated as follows:

(ECU million (current))

1997

1998

1999

2000

TOTAL

Commitments appropriations

10.5

8.5

8.5

8.5

36

Payment appropriations

1997

9.5

9.5

1998

8.9

8.9

1998

8.8

8.8

2000

8.8

8.8

TOTAL

9.5

8.9

8.8

8.8

36

- According to the agreement in the form of an exchange of letters signed by the Commission on the 4th of June, without consulting the EP, the EU agrees with the provisional implementation of this protocol, the first instalment expected to be paid before 31 December 1997 (8.5 MECU).

- The financing of this Protocol will be charged to item B7-8000 with 10.5 MECU in 97 and 8.5 MECU the following years for c.a.. This items was allocated in 1997 with 246,3 MECU in c.a. and 216,3 MECU in p.a. and benefitting with an amount of 30 MECU in commitments and payments appropriations from the reserve B0-40). According to the state of implementation of the 97 budget a request for a transfer will be necessary in 97 to allow the payment of the first instalment. For 98 the Council has entered the corresponding amount in the line B7-8000 (8.5 in c.a. and 8.9 in p.a.) in its first reading.

- The former protocol in force for the period of June 95 to June 1997 (2 years), envisaged the payment from the EU of a total financial compensation of 10,8 MECU payable in two annual installments of 6 MECU and 4.8 MECU (a complement amount of 1.2 MECU have been paid once the envisaged quotas were reached). Additional contributions were envisaged referring to scientific programs intended to improve knowledge in the sector, study and practical training for a total 1.9 MECU.

3. AMENDMENTS TO BE TABLED

3.1 Some contacts have been established with DG XIV and Commissioner Liikanen and the procedure for the information on the situation of on going negotiations has been fixed. With regard to the information on agreements/protocols in force, the existing practice has been developed and some improvements resulted from last budgetary conciliation (24 July) in particular the Commission Commitment not to do any payment before the adoption of EP opinion. For this reason taking into account the good cooperation demonstrated by DG XIV and DG XIX on this aspects, the usual amendment on information does not seem necessary.

3.2 The amendments linked to the need to avoid any provisional implementation before EP consultation (amendment nΊ2, 3) unfortunately seem still actual, once the Commission and the Council seem to insist on provisional implementation of International Fishery agreements without previous EP consultation. In this case it seems necessary to maintain the principal that before negotiations are started the EP, on the basis of the general assessment report made by the Commission on the previous agreement, gives its opinion on all the relevant aspects, including on the financial and budgetary ones.

3.3 Regarding the usual amendment on classification of expenditure, the draftswoman proposes that the COBU follows on this procedure the general strategic principles adopted at the beginning of this year, insisting therefore on the classification of the expenditure related to this protocol as also non compulsory (amendment no.1).

4. CONCLUSIONS

The Committee on Budgets:

4.1 Protests against the fact that the Council and the Commission have, once again, followed the procedure allowing the adoption of a decision concerning the provisional application of the Protocol and bearing financial and budgetary implications, without consulting the EP beforehand;

4.2 Once again, invites the Commission to start negotiations on the renewal of financial protocols on fisheries long before they are due to expire, and to close them in due time to allow the appropriate consultation of the EP; requests the Commission while negotiating not to confirm the EU agreement to a provisional application of any agreement/protocol; notes that a first step was already made on this sense, once the Commission have accepted not to do any payment before EP opinion is adopted.

4.3 Notes that the adoption of the common declaration establishing the "code of conduct" has improved EP information in the decision-making process of this agreement in such terms that the usual amendment on EP information is no longer necessary.

4.4 Requests therefore that the Committee on Fisheries adopt the following three amendments to the draft regulation:

(Amendment 1)

2nd Recital (a) new

Whereas, in accordance with the Interinstitutional Agreement of 29 October 1993 on budgetary discipline, expenditure relating to this Protocol is also non-compulsory;

(Amendment 2)

Article 2a (1) new

1. In the course of the last year of the Protocol's application, and before the start of negotiations on its possible renewal, the Commission shall submit to the Council and European Parliament a general assessment report.

(Amendment 3)

Article 2a (2) new

2. The Council shall, on the basis of that report and taking account of the European Parliament's opinion thereon, authorize the Commission, where appropriate, to start negotations with a view to the adoption of a new Protocol.

24 September 1997

OPINION

(Rule 147)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) relating to the conclusion of the Protocol defining, for the period 16 June 1997 to 15 June 2001, the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on fishing in the waters off Guinea-Bissau (COM(97)0395 - C4-0000/97) (report by Mr Imaz San Miguel)

Committee on Development and Cooperation

Letter from the committee chairman to Mrs Carmen Fraga Estévez, chairman of the Committee on Fisheries

Brussels, 24 September 1997

Dear Mrs Fraga Estévez,

At its meeting of 4 September 1997 the Committee on Development and Cooperation considered the above proposal and adopted the following opinion in letter form unopposed with 1 abstention at its meeting of 24 September 1997.

The committee would remind the Committee on Fisheries of its previous reports and opinions on other fisheries agreements concluded with various ACP countries and, in particular, the Guermeur report on fishing agreements with developing countries, adopted by Parliament on 19 February 1987[1]; and, more recently, the resolutions adopted by the Joint Assembly on 1 April 1993 in Gaborone (Botswana) on fisheries in the context of ACP-EEC cooperation[2]; on 7 October 1993 in Brussels (Belgium) on fisheries in the context of ACP-EEC cooperation (ACP-CE 818/A/fin./93)[3]; on 2 February 1995, in Dakar (Senegal), on non-industrial fishing and the EU-Senegal Fisheries Agreement (ACP-EU 1353/95/fin.)[4], and on 28 September 1995[5] in Brussels (Belgium), on the signing of responsible fisheries agreements; Parliament's resolutions of 28 March 1996 on international and multilateral fisheries agreements (B4-0309, 0312 and 0316/96) and 15 May 1997 on international fisheries agreements (A4-0149/97, Crampton report), and the recent resolution by the Council of Development Ministers meeting in Luxembourg on 5 June 1997 on the coherence of the EC's development cooperation policy with its other policies, in particular section C thereof on fisheries and development. The committee believes that these reports and resolutions should be taken as a basic reference for any agreement of this kind.

In addition, the Committee on Development and Cooperation has always stressed the need to conclude fisheries agreements with ACP countries which will ensure mutual benefits, both for the ACP countries themselves and for the EC countries.

Legally, fisheries agreements are trade agreements and are financed by the European Union fisheries budget. Nevertheless, the Committee on Development and Cooperation has always insisted that such agreements should include a development component, embodying such aspects as the funding of scientific and technological programmes in the area of fisheries, grants, the landing of a percentage of catches in the country of origin, the use of local crews and other matters which have so far not been included in fisheries agreements, such as the transfer of fisheries technology, joint ventures, expost evaluation, regional aspects of fisheries agreements and participation in fisheries surveillance.

The Committee on Development and Cooperation's desire to introduce a more ambitious development component should result in third-generation partnership agreements. In order to fund the development of such agreements, use should be made of cross-financing between the Union fisheries budget and the EDF.

The Committee on Development and Cooperation,

having regard to the above points and stressing the absence of any report by the Commission analysing the results of the previous fisheries agreement with Guinea-Bissau,

1. Notes that the new agreement will have a longer period of validity (four years). Although this will provide stability for the activities of the EU fishing fleets, a comprehensive and transparent review should be carried out halfway through this period in order to assess the impact of the agreement in sensitive areas.

2. Notes that there is an increase in fishing possibilities for shrimp trawlers: the proposal provides for 9 600 gross registered tonnes (GRT) per year, as against 8 800 under the previous agreement. It should be pointed out that, under the previous agreement, there had been a reduction of 2 200 GRT following an adjustment to the fishing possibilities to match the state of stocks, which had declined over the previous two years. It would therefore be interesting to know whether the current increase is the outcome of a proper study of the state of recovery of those stocks, especially since the new agreement covers a four-year period and Article 3 thereof allows the fishing possibilities to be increased by 1 000 GRT per year if fishing resources permit.

There is a reduction in fishing possibilities for trawlers fishing for cephalopods and other fish (from 4 000 GRT per year to 3 000 GRT per year), which will presumably aid the recovery of stocks which, according to 1994 FAO data, are in decline.

As regards tuna vessels there is a significant increase: the agreement provides for licences for 37 tuna seiners (26 in the previous agreement) and 52 pole-and-line vessels and surface longliners (16 under the previous agreement);

3. Observes that the financial compensation under the new agreement has increased (ECU 8 500 000 per year as against ECU 6 000 000, a figure which had remained unchanged since 1991). The agreement also provides ECU 300 000 (ECU 150 000 under the previous agreement) for scientific programmes and a further ECU 400 000 for awards (ECU 100 000 under the previous agreement), which represents a substantial increase in the funding for scientific and training programmes. There has also been a substantial increase in the funding to provide institutional support for the Ministry of Fisheries (ECU 200 000 as against ECU 100 000 under the previous agreement) and maritime surveillance (ECU 800 000 as against ECU 200 000 under the previous agreement), all of which is welcomed by the Committee on Development and Cooperation. Also to be welcomed is the increase in the funding for small-scale fishing (from ECU 150 000 to ECU 300 000), an item which had been included for the first time in the agreement which expired in June;

4. As regards statement-of-catch procedures, notes that the new protocol requires the monthly totals for each species to be entered on the appropriate forms. Concerning by-catches, the catch of finfish trawlers must not exceed 9% crustaceans (10% under the previous protocol) and 9% cephalopods, whilst the catch of cephalopod trawlers must not exceed more than 9% crustaceans (5% under the previous protocol);

5. As regards the limitations on authorized mesh size, notes that there has been an increase in the minimum size for fin-fish vessels (70 mm under the new protocol as against 60 mm under the previous one) and cephalopod vessels (70 mm as against 50 mm under the previous protocol), which will make a positive contribution to restricting the fishing effort;

6. Welcomes the inclusion of a paragraph referring to the landing of fish in order to supply the local market. This is something which may assist the development of the newly-established local fisheries product distribution and processing industry. In this connection, wishes to point out that Guinea-Bissau's recent accession to the CFA zone represents a major advantage as regards the development of the local processing industry and trusts that appropriate technical and financing arrangements will be put in place to assist that development. Points out, however, that there is a risk of competition between fish landed by European vessels and fish landed by the local smallscale fishing fleet and therefore draws attention to the need to land 'noble' fish (species intended for export) which can be processed by local industry without competing with local catches;

7. Calls once again on the Commission to consider the possibility of concluding regional fisheries agreements with the countries in the area in question;

8. Calls on the Commission to ensure that vessels flying the flags of the Community Member States comply with each and every contractual clause of the new agreement;

9. Urges the Commission to compile evaluation reports on the fisheries agreements concluded so far;

10. Requests that the EP committee responsible be informed of the progress of the negotiations so that it can make its views known to the Commission;

Calls on the Committee on Fisheries:

• to take account of this opinion of the Committee on Development and Cooperation when drawing up its report,

• to approve the proposal.

Yours sincerely,

Michel Rocard

The following were present for the vote: Rocard, chairman; Stasi, vice-chairman; Andrews, Carlotti, Dell"Alba (for Hory), Dupuis (for Macartney), Fernández Martín, Günther, Kinnock, Klironomos (for Panagopoulos), Liese, Lööw, Martens, Pettinari, Pons Grau, van Putten (for Cunningham), Sandbæk, Sauquillo Pérez del Arco, Telkämper, Vanhecke (for Antony) and Vecchi.

  • [1] Doc. A2-204/86, OJ C 76, 23.2.1987.
  • [2] OJ C 234, 30.8.1993.
  • [3] OJ C 14, 17.1.1994.
  • [4] OJ C 245, 21.9.1995.
  • [5] 2 OJ C 61, 29.2.1996