Tuna seiners from the Basque fleet. (Photo: Tuna Seiners)
Forty Spanish vessels no longer fish in Guinea Bissau
Monday, June 18, 2012, 03:30 (GMT + 9)
Following the suspension of the fisheries agreement between the European Union (EU) and Guinea Bissau, Brussels urged the EU fleet to abandon the fishing grounds of the African country from 16 June.
The decision was taken given the impossibility of guaranteeing the security of European vessels fishing in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Guinea Bissau under the existing Fisheries Partnership Agreement.
The action has impact on the activity of 40 Spanish flagged vessels: 11 cephalopod trawlers from Galicia; 9 shellfish vessels from Andalusia, 13 tuna freezer seiners from the Basque Country and 7 bait tuna boats from the Basque Country.
These vessels were fishing in the waters of Guinea Bissau under the fishing agreement signed between the parties in February, which would come into effect on Saturday until 2015.
While in recent days the European Commission (EC) was trying to speed up the process to complete the legal procedure that would allow EU vessels to continue fishing in the waters of the African country, late last week the Member States were informed that it would not be possible to do so.
The EC recalled that in April 2012 there was a coup in Guinea Bissau.
For the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca), the continuity of the bilateral agreement is very important, mainly for the shellfish, cephalopod and tuna fleets.
The interruption of activities is a cause of great concern to some participants in the Spanish fishing sector, who hope that the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama) responds to their request for financial compensation under the European Fisheries Fund (EFF).
The Confederation highlighted that about 12 cephalopod boats and 3 shrimp boats have claimed compensation payment of the paid fishing permits that had been obtained so as to operate from 1 April to 15 June, which were never delivered as a result of the coup in Guinea Bissau.
If the new agreement takes effect, European vessels will be able to fish in waters of the African country in return for a compensation of EUR 9.2 million annually.
- Fisheries agreement with Guinea Bissau renewed through 2015
By Analia Murias