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EU Pays Mauritius EUR 120 p/MT For Tuna Fishing Right

A delegation of the European Commission led by Mr Stefaan Depypere Director of International Affairs and Markets, Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission and a delegation of the Republic of Mauritius led by Mr A.C Moosuddee the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries, met in Port Louis on 23 February 2012 to initial a new Fisheries Partnership Agreement and protocol governing the fisheries activities of the European Union (EU) vessels in the Mauritius’ waters.
The negotiations and discussions took place in a very constructive atmosphere which reflects the fruitful relationship between the European Union and the Republic of Mauritius at bilateral, regional and multilateral level.
The Fisheries Partnership Agreement establishes the principles and the rules governing economic, financial and scientific cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Mauritius in the fisheries sector, with a view to guaranteeing the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources and developing the Mauritius' fisheries sector.
The Protocol and its Annex provide for fishing opportunities and conditions that will apply for three years, and will provide for a total financial contribution of EUR 1 980 000 for the whole period. This amount corresponds to:
a) Eur 357 500 per year, corresponding to the fishing access right equivalent to a reference tonnage of 5 500 tons; and
b) Eur 302 500 per year, corresponding to a specific amount for the support and implementation of Mauritian sectoral fisheries policy and maritime policy aiming at promoting sustainable fisheries in Mauritius’ waters.

Provisions to avoid any adverse effects on the small scale fishermen activities have been taken:
- The fishing activities of the EU fleet will take place only beyond 15 nautical miles of the coast (12 miles in the previous protocol);
- The possibility of embarking 10 Mauritian qualified seamen on board of EU vessels when operating in Mauritius' waters is foreseen.

Moreover, the Mauritian canneries (mainly Thon des Mascareignes and Princes Tuna) and related seafood sector development highly rely on the activities and catches of the EU fleet in the whole Indian Ocean for the sustainable development of its seafood hub along with the safeguard of around 6 000 direct labor and an annual export earning of nearly 8,5 billion Mauritian rupees (more than Euro 200 million).
In addition to the economic benefits, the Agreement provides a policy framework and an effective instrument for both Parties to oversee and enforce observance of responsible fishing by the operators, and thereby ensuring the sustainability of the tuna fishery in the South West Indian Ocean.
Through this Agreement, Mauritius will also gain support from the EU to implement its Fisheries Master Plan. The action plan will certainly focus on the sustainability and profitability of small scale fishermen and sustainable management and development of tuna and other highly migratory resources in the region.
Both parties will notify each other once their internal completion of the necessary applicable procedures is achieved, for the Agreement and Protocol to come into force.
Mauritius is also benefitting from the EU development fisheries program of Euro 21 million implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission which will be soon followed by a second phase of Euro 14 million. These development activities complement the sectoral support provided under the EU/Mauritius Agreement initialed this week.