Procedure : 2015/0224(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0142/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0142/2016

Debates :

PV 09/05/2016 - 18
CRE 09/05/2016 - 18

Votes :

PV 10/05/2016 - 6.3
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0208

RECOMMENDATION     ***
PDF 397kWORD 101k
21.4.2016
PE 575.289v03-00 A8-0142/2016

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia and the Implementation Protocol thereto

(13015/2015 – C8‑0402/2015 – 2015/0224(NLE))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: Jarosław Wałęsa

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia and the Implementation Protocol thereto

(13015/2015 – C8 0402/2015 – 2015/0224(NLE))

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (13015/2015),

–  having regard to the draft Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia (13014/2015),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43, Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0402/2015),

–  having regard to Rule 99(1), first and third subparagraphs, Rule 99(2), 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 (A8-0142/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Agreement and the Protocol thereto;

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 Liberia.

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

In recent years the European Union (EU) has signed a number of Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPAs) and Protocols with ‘third countries’. Through the FPAs, the EU provides financial and technical support in exchange for fishing rights to a wide range of fish stocks in the partner country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Since 2014 with the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) these agreements are called Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs).

This Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement is the first to be signed between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia, which has a 570 km coastline along the Atlantic ocean. The EEZ of 246 152 km² is home to demersal and pelagic fish resources including the tuna and tuna-like species.

Liberia and the EU

The European Union’s distant water fishing fleets have been targeting tropical tunas in the gulf of Guinea since the 1950s. They currently catch about 10 % of their global tuna catch in the Atlantic Ocean, consisting of mainly skipjack (70 %), yellowfin (25 %) and bigeye (5 %).

EU and Liberia cooperate via multilateral agreements such as United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (UNCLOS) or the Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks of 1995 and via intergovernmental and regional fisheries organizations such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). In addition, the Liberian 2008 Food and Agriculture Policy and Strategy adopts appropriate elements from the international best practice provided in the voluntary 1995 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF).

Liberian Authorities are strongly cooperating with EU to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The years of civil war made possible illegal fishing activities to take place, with foreign vessels targeting fish stocks in Liberia’s waters resulting both in draining potential national revenue out of Liberian fishermen and in negative impacts on the health of the fish stocks and the marine ecosystem.

In consequence, the conclusion of a SFPA with Liberia would clearly help the EU to achieve its objectives regarding the fight against IUU fishing and to spread the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) objective of a sustainable management of Fisheries and aquaculture activities.

Fisheries in Liberia

Under the Authority of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Bureau of National Fisheries (BNF) has overall responsibility for fisheries policy and the management of fish resources in Liberia.

The BNF aims at promoting sustainably managed and economically viable fisheries that generate prosperity for the present and future generations. New Fisheries Regulations were adopted in 2010, followed by a fisheries and aquaculture policy and strategy document (1)adopted in 2014: the main objective of Liberia Fisheries' policy is to achieve a sustainable management of fisheries resources and ecosystems, namely through:

•  Restoring fish biomass capacities to produce at maximum sustainable yield levels;

•  Promoting International cooperation for management of shared stocks;

•  Implementing effective Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) mechanisms to prevent IUU fishing.

It is therefore in line with the objectives of EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The fisheries sector contributes about 12 % of Liberia’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) and 3% of the overall GDP. Revenue to the government from license fees, vessel registration fees, inspection fees, observer fees, import and export charges, and fines totalled US $400,000 in 2011 and rose steeply to nearly US $6.0 million by mid 2013, due to the fines gathered from the successful prosecutions of foreign vessels fishing illegally in fisheries waters(2).

With more than half of the population estimated to live along the coast, dependent or partially dependent on fisheries for livelihoods, fish provides an estimated 65 % of animal protein intake within the country. In spite of its fish resources, Liberia still imports cheaper small pelagic species for local consumption, while exporting some high value species such as shrimp. Trade figures are not considered reliable, partially due to weak monitoring systems. There is however a consensus that the fisheries sector has potential to make a significant contribution to Liberia’s development.

Ex Ante Evaluation of a possible future EU-Liberia SFPA

The Commission has carried out in 2013 an ex-ante evaluation of a possible Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) with Liberia(3) . The evaluation report concluded that the EU tuna fishing sector is firmly interested in fishing in Liberia and that an SFPA with Liberia would help strengthen monitoring, control and surveillance, and contribute to improved governance of the fisheries in the region.

It also delivers key findings such as:

•  The key long-term need of a possible FPA/Protocol which is shared by both the EU and Liberia is the sustainability of capture fisheries production occurring in the region and migrating through Liberia’s waters.

•  Amongst the two options considered in the evaluation, the option 1 (to conclude an SFPA and Protocol) was considered preferable to the option 2 of an agreement to have access to Liberian waters with no funds (provided through a protocol).

•  While there are some risks in relation to value for money provided by EU funds under option 1, the SFPAs overall objectives of sustainable exploitation, sustaining and developing the economy of Liberia, the EU and the ACP neighbouring States would be less likely to be achieved under option 2 - if there was no FPA/Protocol.

•  The main benefits of option 1 are that an SFPA and Protocol would bring more certainty and security of the rights for the EU vessels and that it would lead to a more strengthened role of the EU within the region to support EU flag stats cooperation.

EU-Liberia SFPA and implementation protocol

Following the ex ante evaluation, and Empowered by the Council mandate of 20 June 2014(4), the European Commission has held three rounds of negotiations(5) with the Government of Liberia with a view to concluding the First Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and an Implementation Protocol thereto between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia.

Following these negotiations, a new Agreement and Protocol were initialled on 5 June 2015. It is a tuna agreement and protocol concluded for 5 years from the date of provisional application, tacitly renewable, that could further expand the Union's network of tuna fisheries agreements in West Africa.

The main objective of the implementation Protocol is to provide fishing opportunities to Union vessels in the Liberian fishing zone, on the basis of the best available scientific advice and respecting the recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), where applicable within the limits of the available surplus. The Protocol provides for fishing opportunities in the following categories: 28 tuna seiners and 6 surface long-liners.

The Protocol provides for an EU financial contribution of EUR 715 000 for the first year, EUR 650 000 for the second, third and fourth years, and EUR 585 000 for the fifth year, on the basis of:

(a) a reference tonnage of 6 500 tonnes, for which an amount linked to access has been set at EUR 357 500 for the first year, EUR 325 000 for the second, third and fourth years, and EUR 292 500 for the fifth year; and

(b) support for development of the sectoral fisheries policy of the Republic of Liberia, amounting to EUR 357 500 for the first year, EUR 325 000 for the second, third and fourth years, and EUR 292 500 for the fifth year. This support meets the objectives of the national fisheries policy and in particular the Republic of Liberia’s needs in relation to scientific research, artisanal fisheries as well as fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance and the fight against illegal fishing.

Position of the Rapporteur

In the light of the foregoing, your rapporteur considers that the SPFA with Liberia and its implementation Protocol is coherent with the aims of the Common Fisheries Policy, of a sustainable management of Fisheries and aquaculture activities and that it is of great mutual benefit to both parties.

It strengthens the cooperation between the Union and Liberia, and more generally with West Africa where important tuna fishing zones are located.

It promotes a partnership framework in which to develop a sustainable fisheries policy and responsible exploitation of fishery resources in the Liberian fishing zone.

It helps the European Union in its global fight against IUU fishing by supporting the improvement of monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of the Liberian fisheries sector and Economic Exclusive Zone.

This is in the interest of both Parties, in line with relevant conservation and management measures and within the limits of the available surplus.

Your rapporteur therefore recommends the consent by the European Parliament.

He welcomes the fact that during the negotiation process relevant stakeholders were heard and scientific advice was taken seriously on a number of technical issues.

He is convinced that the positive effect of the sectoral support measures for the local economy and the coastal communities, will prove over the long term and should therefore be thoroughly assessed by the Commission at the expiration of the Protocol. Parliament should also be given the opportunity for a closer monitoring all along the implementing process of the multiannual sectoral support programme.

In general the Rapporteur regrets that the European Parliament has a limited role in the adoption of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership agreements through only a consent procedure. He believes that the European Parliament should be awarded a more active role and be immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedures concerning the FPAs or its renewals in order to increase transparency and democratic accountability of the protocols.

17.3.2016

OPINION of the Committee on Development

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia and the Implementation Protocol thereto

(13015/2015 – C8‑0402/2015 – 2015/0224(NLE))

Rapporteur: Maria Heubuch

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

This new agreement deals only with tuna. For a total of EUR 3,25 million over five years, EU vessels may fish 6.500 tonnes of tuna per year. The financial contribution shall be split equally between an amount for access to the fisheries resources and an amount for support of the sectoral fisheries policy of Liberia. Other elements from the reform are also included, such as the exclusivity clause, a human rights clause and the principle whereby no other distant water nation should receive more favourable conditions than the EU.

Regarding transparency, a key element for promoting sustainable fisheries, a provision similar, though not as detailed, to the one contained in the latest agreement with Mauritania, is included, which requires the publication of any agreement (public or private) allowing foreign-flagged vessels access to Liberian waters. For several years, Liberia has been publishing lists of licensed vessels. Attention needs to be paid to ensure that this information is both complete and reliable. At the time when the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) is just getting underway, these provisions on transparency are very welcome.

In Liberia, the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security is vital but constrained by the lack of infrastructures: Liberia is a net importer of fish for domestic consumption, particularly small pelagics. The EU sectoral support should treat this as a priority, including the support for the participative management plan for small pelagics being developed by Liberia.

Liberian stakeholders were not consulted during the preparation of the evaluation prior to the negotiations, and this needs to be rectified in the future.

******

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to recommend that Parliament give its consent to the draft Council decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia and the Implementation Protocol thereto.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

15.3.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

1

4

Members present for the final vote

Louis Aliot, Nicolas Bay, Ignazio Corrao, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Nathan Gill, Maria Heubuch, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, Maurice Ponga, Cristian Dan Preda, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Elly Schlein, Pedro Silva Pereira, Eleni Theocharous, Paavo Väyrynen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta

Substitutes present for the final vote

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Louis-Joseph Manscour, Paul Rübig, Jan Zahradil, Joachim Zeller

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

Michèle Rivasi, Estefanía Torres Martínez

17.3.2016

OPINION of the Committee on Budgets

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia and the Implementation Protocol thereto

(13015/2015 – C8-0402/2015 – 2015/0224(NLE))

Rapporteur: Siegfried Mureşan

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

On the basis of the relevant negotiating directives, the Commission conducted negotiations with the Government of Liberia with a view to concluding a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and an Implementation Protocol thereto between the European Union and Liberia. Following these negotiations, a new Agreement and Protocol were initialled on 5 June 2015.

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 Liberia. The Agreement establishes a Joint Committee, which is responsible for monitoring the performance, interpretation and application of the Agreement. Furthermore, the Joint Committee may approve certain modifications to the Protocol.

The new Protocol will provide a framework for the fishing activities of the European fleet in the Liberian fishing zone and will authorise European vessel owners to apply for fishing licences allowing them to fish in that zone. In addition, the new Protocol enhances cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Liberia, with a view to promoting the development of a sustainable fishing policy. It provides, in particular, for vessels to be monitored via VMS and for the electronic transmission of catch data. The sectoral support available under the Protocol will help the Republic of Liberia with its national fisheries strategy, including the fight against IUU fishing.

The Protocol covers a period of five years from the date of provisional application – i.e. from the date of its signature, in order not to delay the start of fishing operations.

The annual financial contribution has been set at:

•EUR 715 000 for the first year,

•EUR 650 000 for the second, third and fourth years, and

•EUR 585 000 for the fifth year, on the basis of:

(a) a reference tonnage of 6 500 tonnes, for which an amount linked to access has been set at EUR 357 500 for the first year, EUR 325 000 for the second, third and fourth years, and EUR 292 500 for the fifth year; and

(b) support for development of the sectoral fisheries policy of the Republic of Liberia, amounting to EUR 357 500 for the first year, EUR 325 000 for the second, third and fourth years, and EUR 292 500 for the fifth year. This support meets the objectives of the national fisheries policy and in particular the Republic of Liberia’s needs in relation to scientific research, artisanal fisheries as well as fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance and the fight against illegal fishing.

******

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

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

16.3.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

26

2

3

Members present for the final vote

Jean Arthuis, Reimer Böge, Lefteris Christoforou, Jean-Paul Denanot, Gérard Deprez, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Jens Geier, Esteban González Pons, Monika Hohlmeier, Bernd Kölmel, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Vladimír Maňka, Ernest Maragall, Siegfried Mureşan, Jan Olbrycht, Urmas Paet, Paul Rübig, Petri Sarvamaa, Patricija Šulin, Eleftherios Synadinos, Paul Tang, Indrek Tarand, Inese Vaidere, Daniele Viotti, Marco Zanni, Auke Zijlstra, Stanisław Żółtek

Substitutes present for the final vote

Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Nils Torvalds, Marco Valli

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

19.4.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

21

2

0

Members present for the final vote

Marco Affronte, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Renata Briano, Alain Cadec, Richard Corbett, Diane Dodds, Linnéa Engström, Ian Hudghton, Carlos Iturgaiz, Werner Kuhn, Gabriel Mato, Norica Nicolai, 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, Anja Hazekamp, Lidia Senra Rodríguez

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

Laura Ferrara

(1)

http://liberiafisheries.net/sites/default/files/pdf/fisheries_policy_doc.pdf

(2)

Source : Fisheries and aquaculture policy and strategy document: http://liberiafisheries.net/sites/default/files/pdf/fisheries_policy_doc.pdf

(3)

"Ex ante evaluation of a possible future fisheries partnership agreement and protocol between the European Union and Liberia (October 2013) by the Consortium COFREPECHE (leader) -MRAG -NFDS and POSEIDON.

(ref.: (MARE 2011/01/LOT3/SC5 – AFO132R05E)):

http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/documentation/studies/liberia/doc/report-liberia-2013_en.pdf

(4)

Adopted by the 3324th meeting of the Council (ECOFIN) on 20 June 2014.

(5)

January 2015 (Video conference); March 2015 (Brussels); 2/6 to 5/6/2015 (Monrovia, Liberia)

Legal notice - Privacy policy