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Four EU vessels will have access to Cook Islands fishery grounds. (Photo Credit: Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific)

EU and Cook Islands reach fisheries agreement

EUROPEAN UNION
Friday, October 23, 2015, 23:30 (GMT + 9)

Four Spanish purse seiners will be allowed to fish in the Cook Islands waters for the next four years in compliance with the Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreement (SFPA)signed by the European Union (EU) and the Cook Islands.

This agreement will expand the area of operations for the EU fleet in the western and central Pacific Ocean, the world's most important tuna fishing grounds providing more than half of the global tuna catch.

In exchange to the access to catch 7,000 tonnes of tuna, the EU will pay Cook Islands a financial contribution amounting to EUR 2.8 million and EUR 350,000 of this contribution will be destined to supporting the fishing sector. The Commission highlights that the fishing opportunities under other EU agreements in the Pacific have traditionally been very well utilised.

This is the first SFPA negotiated by the EU and the Cook Islands, whose history of co-operation and partnership started in June 2000, in the framework of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (Cotonu Agreement).

EU fishing vessels operating in the Cook Islands fishery waters will be subject to national laws and to conservation and management measures adopted within the Western and Central  Pacific Fisheries Commission. In line with those measures the Cook Islands have declared a maximum allowable catch for their EEZ and made it available to foreign fleets in the absence of domestic vessels. The fishing opportunities for the EU under the new SFPA will remain within that ceiling.

The texts agreed during a first round of negotiations in July 2013 have been refined to strengthen provisions related to catch recording and reporting, as well as provisions dealing with the monitoring, control and surveillance of the activities of the EU fleet.

Tuna is a key resource for the social and economic well-being of Pacific nations and their people. In line with the EU's reformed Common Fisheries Policy, the conclusion of this SFPA allows both parties to initiate a dialogue on fisheries governance and to encourage sustainable and responsible fishing. It will also reinforce cooperation between the two parties, especially in their fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. 


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