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Javier Garat, President of Europêche. (Photo: IISD)

EU fishing vessel operation continuity becomes uncertain in Guinea-Bissau

Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:50 (GMT + 9)

Negotiations for a new fisheries deal between the European Union (EU) and Guinea-Bissau (GB) have been put on hold due to unrealistic economic and technical conditions proposed by authorities of the African country, reported Europêche.

The European fishing vessel owners expect that the discussion of this new agreement, which would allow around 50 EU vessels to continue fishing important species such as tuna, cephalopods, horse mackerel or shrimp in GB's waters for the next years in a transparent legal framework, can resume and lead to a realistic agreement beneficial for both parties in the near future.

"Our fishing vessel owners are willing to continue operating in GB waters under the most transparent fisheries agreement in the world. However, despite the European Commission efforts to reach a mutually-beneficial agreement, the conditions offered by GB’s authorities are far from being realistic, not based on facts and technically and economically unviable,” pointed out Javier Garat, President of Europêche.

The current fisheries protocol signed between the EU and GB is bound to expire on November 23 this year. This agreement provides for a financial contribution of EUR 9.2 million per year (including EUR 3 million per year to support the fisheries sector), as well as an increased contribution to be paid by fishing vessel owners.

Europêche stresses that the current agreement, apart from the economic contribution from both the EU and European operators, has created more than 150 direct jobs for local fishermen and 500 local indirect jobs that will be lost unless a new deal is struck.

In addition, many EU vessels have been fishing in GB waters for many years and their livelihood depends on this fishery, which is why the organisation is interested in continuing the strategic partnership and contributing to the local economy.

"The Protocol allows for the development of scientific research, surveillance, artisanal fisheries, training, know-how and higher quality products. Needless to say, other fishing nations such as China are present in these waters, whose standards and levels transparency are significantly lower than the Europeans, particularly after the latest legislative developments," the European fishing industry union points out.

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