Procedure : 2013/0375(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0201/2014

Texts tabled :

A7-0201/2014

Debates :

Votes :

PV 16/04/2014 - 7.2
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2014)0398

RECOMMENDATION     ***
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20.3.2014
PE 526.219v02-00 A7-0201/2014

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Seychelles

(16651/2013 – C7‑0020/2014 – 2013/0375(NLE))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: Maria do Céu Patrão Neves

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Budgets
 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 Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Seychelles

(16651/2013 – C7‑0020/2014 – 2013/0375(NLE))

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the draft Council decision (16651/2013),

–   having regard to the draft Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles (16648/2013),

–   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 (7), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C7-0020/2014),

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council regulation concerning the allocation of fishing opportunities under the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles (COM(2013)0765),

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and on the provisional application of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles ((COM(2013)0766),

–   having regard to Rule 81(1), first and third subparagraphs, Rule 81(2), and Rule 90(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A7-0201/2014),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Protocol;

2.  Calls on the Commission to provide Parliament with relevant information on the joint scientific meetings provided for in Article 4 of the Partnership Agreement and on meetings of the joint committee provided for in Article 9 of the Partnership Agreement, in particular the corresponding minutes and conclusions, together with an annual report on the practical implementation of the multiannual sectoral support programme referred to in Article 3 of the Protocol;

3.   Calls for representatives of its Committee on Fisheries, acting as observers, to be able to attend the above meetings of the joint committee provided for in Article 9 of the Partnership Agreement;

4.   Calls on the Commission to submit to Parliament and the Council, during the final year of the Protocol’s validity and before the opening of negotiations on its renewal, an ex-post assessment report on its implementation, containing an analysis of the uptake of fishing opportunities and a cost-benefit analysis of the Protocol, along with a report on possible constraints on fishing operations and damage caused to the Union fleet operating in the Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone as a result of piracy in this part of the Indian Ocean;

5.  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 Seychelles.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Importance of the Seychelles fishing industry

The Republic of Seychelles is an island country comprising 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1 500 km northeast of Madagascar and around 1 600 km east of mainland Africa. Its land territory covers an area of around 455 km2 and its coastline is approximately 500 km long. The archipelago's continental shelf stretches for 10 334 km2, while the Seychelles extensive Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers an area of 1 374 000 km². It has a population of around 90 000, some 80% of whom are concentrated on the island of Mahé, which is the largest island. The capital Victoria is located here, with around 30 000 inhabitants.

The Seychelles economy is chiefly based on fishing and tourism. The fisheries-based economy grew in the 1980s, boosted by the signing of fisheries agreements with the EU and Japan. In the past decade fishing activity – chiefly tuna fishing – overtook the tourism industry as the country's main source of foreign currency. In 2012, fishing and related sectors generated income amounting to 4 864.6 million Seychelles rupees (SCR), approximately EUR 296.6 million, and contributed 31.4% of gross domestic product (GDP). Around 5 000 people are employed in jobs directly or indirectly linked to fishing and related sectors (ship repair, equipment, port services, fish processing, export activities – 4 000 directly and 1 000 indirectly linked), representing around 10% of formal employment in Seychelles. In 2012 there were between 1 300 and 1 400 Seychellois fishermen working full or part time.

Domestic production of fish and fish products stands at slightly over 109 000 tonnes (t), with the local tuna fleet landing 70 777 t of tuna. After the upward trend seen in the 1990s, profits from tuna fishing in Seychelles fell in 2009 and 2010 owing to piracy in this part of the Indian Ocean, but rose again slightly in 2011, reaching SCR 1 456 million (» EUR 88.8 million). In 2012, canned tuna accounted for 92% of total production of fish products, with a value of SCR 697.6 million (» EUR 42.5 million), and exports of canned tuna accounted for 90% of Seychelles exports, which are heavily dependent on exports to the EU.

Fishing for and management of highly migratory species in Seychelles

Fishing in the Indian Ocean chiefly targets a small group of highly migratory species, primarily tuna and in particular skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus). The Seychelles EEZ is located in the centre of the south-west Indian Ocean tuna fishing area, where a significant proportion of total catches of tuna in this region are taken, around 25% by the EU fleet. The port of Victoria is the country's main port, and around 80% of tuna catches in the south-west Indian Ocean are landed or transhipped there.

In 2011, seiners licensed to operate in the Seychelles EEZ caught 258 361 t of tuna with a monthly average of 33 active vessels, corresponding to fishing effort totalling 9 558 fishing days, with catches being made up of 49% skipjack, 43% yellowfin and 8% bigeye tuna. Most of these catches were taken by seiners from Spain (126 009 t) followed by Seychelles (63 212 t), France (42 530 t) and other countries (26 610 t). The bulk of these catches were taken using fish aggregating devices (FADs). In the same year, longliners licensed to operate in the Seychelles EEZ caught 8 257 t of tuna, with fishing effort corresponding to 17.7 million hooks and catches being made up of 54% bigeye tuna, 17% yellowfin tuna, 5% swordfish and 24% other species, chiefly marlin, sailfish and sharks. These catches were taken by longliners from Seychelles (7 566 t), Taiwan (650 t), Oman (33 t) and the Philippines (8 t). EU longliners have gradually abandoned the region and their catches fell below 5% of total catches taken by surface longliners in the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), which is responsible for managing stocks of 16 migratory species (chiefly tuna) in this region, has classified stocks of yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna and swordfish as being fully exploited and the stock of skipjack tuna as underexploited. The IOTC has expressed some concern regarding catches of juvenile yellowfin tuna by seiners using FADs, as well as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing for bigeye tuna, and it has limited fishing effort in this region to the 2003 level.

Analysis and comparison of the protocol to the EU-Seychelles Partnership Agreement

Seychelles has signed fisheries agreements on catches of migratory species with the EU, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The EU-Seychelles agreement is one of a series of fisheries agreements signed by the EU with countries in the Indian Ocean, including Comoros, Madagascar and Mozambique, and the fact that it concerns migratory species means that it must be approached from a regional perspective. The first EU-Seychelles fisheries agreement dates back to 1984, and this has now evolved into a Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA). The original agreements were initially renewable every three years, whereas the FPA is renewed automatically unless the protocol is suspended or terminated at the request of one of the parties.

The EU-Seychelles FPA was signed on 5 October 2006. A new protocol to this fisheries agreement was initialled on 10 May 2013, covering a period of six years from its provisional application. Given that the current protocol expired on 17 January 2014, the new protocol needs to be provisionally applied from 18 January 2014 in order to guarantee continuity for the EU fleet's activity in Seychelles.

The new protocol to the EU-Seychelles FPA covers a period of six years from the start of its provisional application and provides fishing opportunities for 40 seiners and six longliners. The fishing opportunities for the 40 seiners will be shared among 22 Spanish vessels, 16 French and two Italian vessels, whilst the fishing opportunities for the six longliners will be divided up equally among the Spanish, French and Portuguese fleets. The total financial contribution stands at EUR 30.7 million and is intended as payment for access to the EEZ and support for Seychelles' sectoral fisheries policy. The amount for access to the EEZ for a reference tonnage of 50 000 t stands at EUR 2.75 million in the first and second years and EUR 2.5 million up to the end of the protocol. The amount for sectoral support stands at EUR 2.6 million in the first and second years and EUR 2.5 million up to the end of the protocol.

The cost of fishing licences for seiners will rise gradually over the course of the protocol's validity, from EUR 38 500 in the first year to EUR 52 500 in the final year, for an annual catch of 700 t. Fishing licences for longliners below 250 gross registered tonnes (GRT) range from EUR 4 950 in the first year to EUR 6 750 in the final year, for an annual catch of 90 t, while fishing licences for longliners over 250 GRT range from EUR 6 600 in the first year to EUR 9 000 in the final year, for an annual catch of 120 t. The price paid for catches which exceed the annual reference tonnage of 50 000 t ranges from EUR 55/t in the first year to EUR 75/t in the final year of the protocol.

A comparison with the previous protocol, covering a period of three years, shows that there has been a reduction in the fishing opportunities previously allocated to 48 seiners and 12 longliners, as well as in the annual reference tonnage, which previously stood at 52 000 t. With regard to the annual financial contribution, there has been a significant reduction in the amount for access to the EEZ, which previously stood at EUR 3.38 million, and a slight rise in the amount for sectoral support, which previously stood at EUR 2.22 million. There has been a significant fall in the cost of licences for seiners, previously EUR 61 000 per year, while the cost of licences for longliners, which previously stood at EUR 3 150 per year (vessels < 250 GRT) or EUR 4 200 per year (vessels > 250 GRT), has risen considerably. The amount to be paid for catches over and above the annual reference tonnage, previously EUR 35/additional tonne, has also risen significantly.

 

Previous protocol

Present protocol

Change

Duration

3 years

6 years

­

Fishing opportunities

 

- Seiners

48

40

¯

- Longliners

12

6

¯

Ref. tonnage

52 000 t/year

50 000 t/year

¯

Financial contribution

 

- Total

EUR 16.8 m (3 years)

EUR 30.7 m (6 years)

¯

- Annual

EUR 5.6 million

EUR 5.0 - 5.35 million

¯

- Access to EEZ

EUR 3.38 m/year

EUR 2.5 - 2.75 m/year

¯

- Sectoral support

EUR 2.22 m/year

EUR 2.5 - 2.6 m/year

­

Fishing licences:

 

- Seiners

EUR 61 000/year

EUR 38 500 - 52 500/year

¯

- Longliners < 250 GRT

EUR 3 150/year

EUR 4 950 - 6 750/year

­

- Longliners > 250 GRT

EUR 4 200/year

EUR 6 600 - 9 000/year

­

Additional catches

EUR 35/t

EUR 55 - 75/t

­

Rapporteur’s general comments

The fishing sector and related activities in Seychelles are heavily dependent on the fisheries agreement with the EU, since the financial contribution provided for under the fisheries agreement and the income produced by the foreign fleet's activity are crucial sources of revenue for the country's economy. The EU-Seychelles fisheries agreement is also vital in maintaining the strategic presence of the European fleet in this key region for tuna fishing in the Indian Ocean, where other major foreign fleets also operate, notably Japan, China, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan.

This protocol is balanced and favourable for both sides. It aims to guarantee sustainable fishing by the EU fleet in Seychelles waters, and this aim is safeguarded by a series of clauses in the protocol and fisheries agreement designed to ensure the monitoring, control and inspection of fishing activity, including scientific cooperation, a satellite-based vessel monitoring system (VMS), an electronic catch recording and reporting system (ERS), management of the annual reference tonnage and embarkation of observers. In addition to its significant positive impact on the economy and direct and indirect jobs in fisheries-dependent sectors in Seychelles, this protocol will also affect jobs on board, since each seiner must take on board at least two qualified Seychelles seamen or alternatively, whenever possible, two trainees. There are also around 760 jobs in Europe that are linked to the fleet operating under this fisheries agreement, in various parts of the sector.

A number of adjustments have been made by comparison with the previous protocol, chiefly in relation to its duration, fishing opportunities, reference tonnage and the cost of additional catches, the financial contribution and the cost of fishing licences. The reduction in fishing opportunities and slight fall in the reference tonnage are accompanied by a slight decrease in the EU's financial contribution, particularly the amount paid for access to the Seychelles EEZ. These modifications are justified by the decline in the level of use of the agreement and the fact that the reference tonnage has not been reached in the past few years. The fisheries agreement has been used more by seiners than by longliners, which have gradually abandoned this fishing area and currently make little use of the fishing opportunities available. The fact that catches have not reached the reference tonnage in the past few years, particularly between 2008 and 2010, can be explained by the fact that the European fleet (particularly Spanish and French seiners) has moved to other fisheries in order to avoid piracy in this part of the Indian Ocean.

The level of piracy started to increase in 2004, and in 2008 the EU launched the Atalanta naval operation designed to combat piracy in this part of the Indian Ocean. From 2009 onwards, seiners started to take military personnel or armed private security guards on board, which led to a fall in the number of vessels hijacked but an increase in the fleet's operating costs. The current protocol contains a clause stating that, in exceptional circumstances related to piracy forcing the fleet to leave the Indian Ocean, the two parties will analyse the possibility of applying a pro rata temporis payment upon individual requests by shipowners.

The new protocol tallies with the objectives of the FPAs, making it possible to maintain a European presence in distant-water fisheries and retain fishing opportunities in this part of the Indian Ocean, contributing to sustainable fishing and boosting cooperation between the EU and Seychelles. For the reasons outlined above, the rapporteur considers the new protocol to be balanced and favourable to both sides, and she therefore recommends that Parliament give its consent.


OPINION of the Committee on Budgets (4.3.2014)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Seychelles

(16651/2013 – C7‑0020/2014 – 2013/0375(NLE))

Rapporteur: François Alfonsi

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

On the basis of relevant Council mandate, the Commission on behalf of the European Union negotiated with the Republic of Seychelles in view of renewing the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles.

Following these negotiations, a new Protocol was initialled on the 10th of May 2013, which covers a period of six years starting from the adoption of the Council decision on the Protocol's signing and provisional application and after expiry of the current Protocol, on 17 January 2014.

The new Protocol is in line with the objectives of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement aiming at strengthening the cooperation between the European Union and the Republic of Seychelles and promoting a partnership framework in which to develop a sustainable fisheries policy and responsible exploitation of fishery resources in the Seychelles' fishing zone in the interests of both Parties.

The two Parties agreed to cooperate with a view to implementing Seychelles' sectoral fisheries policy and to that end shall continue the policy dialogue on the relevant programming.

The new Protocol provides for a total financial contribution of EUR 30 700 000 for the whole period. The annual financial contribution paid by the budget of the Union is therefore 5 350 000 EUR per annum for the first two years and 5 000 000 EUR the per annum for the remaining years.

Under Articles 43(2) and 218(6)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament can either give consent or decline to give consent.

Type of expenditure

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

TOTAL

Preservation and management of natural resources

5 350 000€

5 350 000€

5 000 000€

5 000 000€

5 000 000€

5 000 000€

30 700 000€

Total

5 350 000€

5 350 000€

5 000 000€

5 000 000€

5 000 000€

5 000 000€

30 700 000€

******

The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to propose that Parliament give its consent.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

4.3.2014

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

35

1

1

Members present for the final vote

Marta Andreasen, James Elles, Göran Färm, José Manuel Fernandes, Věra Flasarová, Eider Gardiazábal Rubial, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Ivars Godmanis, Ingeborg Gräßle, Lucas Hartong, Jutta Haug, Monika Hohlmeier, Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska, Anne E. Jensen, Ivailo Kalfin, Jan Kozłowski, Alain Lamassoure, George Lyon, Claudio Morganti, Jan Mulder, Nadezhda Neynsky, Andrej Plenković, Dominique Riquet, Alda Sousa, Helga Trüpel, Angelika Werthmann

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

François Alfonsi, Frédéric Daerden, Edit Herczog, Paul Rübig, Peter Šťastný, Georgios Stavrakakis, Nils Torvalds, Catherine Trautmann

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Antonio Cancian, María Auxiliadora Correa Zamora


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

18.3.2014

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

17

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Antonello Antinoro, Alain Cadec, Chris Davies, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Isabella Lövin, Gabriel Mato Adrover, Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, Crescenzio Rivellini, Ulrike Rodust, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Struan Stevenson, Isabelle Thomas, Nils Torvalds, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Jean-Paul Besset, Jens Nilsson, Mario Pirillo

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