- Improved fishing opportunities for EU vessels in Guinea-Bissauan waters
- Promoting sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources and supporting the blue economy in the area
MEPs gave their final approval to the conclusion of a new implementing protocol to the existing EU fisheries partnership agreement with the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (2019-2024).
The protocol was approved with 537 votes in favour, 64 against and 87 abstentions. MEPs also adopted an accompanying resolution (620 votes in favour, 44 against and 24 abstentions) setting out recommendations to the Commission, such as supporting the creation of landing and processing infrastructure, and improving coordination with EU development funding for Guinea-Bissau.
The new five-year protocol was agreed on 15 November 2018 and has applied provisionally since its signature on 15 June 2019. The protocol provides fishing opportunities for freezer trawlers from Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, fishing for shrimps, demersal fish and cephalopods. It also covers vessels from Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Spain and Portugal fishing for small pelagic fish (which were not included in the previous protocol). These opportunities are based on fishing effort limits during the first two years, whereas from the third year, the protocol introduces a system of total allowable catches (TACs).
Tuna opportunities are allocated to 28 seiners and longliners, and 13 pole-and-line vessels, from Spain, France and Portugal.
The protocol defines an annual EU contribution of €15.6 million (increased from €9.2 million for the previous protocol), of which around three quarters (11.6 million) represent access rights. The remaining €4 million are dedicated to supporting Guinea-Bissau’s fisheries sector and its blue economy, in particular by strengthening the control of fishing activities, data collection and research, and supporting small scale fishing. In addition to the EU contribution, vessel owners are estimated to pay €4 million annually via authorisation fees.
The fisheries agreement with Guinea-Bissau, one of the first ever concluded by the EU, dates back to 1980, was replaced in 2008 by the current agreement. The Agreement is part of a network of tuna agreements in West Africa and is one of only three multi-species agreements in the region (the others being with Morocco and with Mauritania). A series of implementing protocols have provided EU access rights over time, except for the period April 2012–October 2014, when the EU suspended the adoption of a new protocol after a military coup in Guinea-Bissau until constitutional order was restored.