Seychelles and the European Union (EU) on Monday started the first round of negotiations for a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol.
The agreement between the EU and Seychelles entered into force in 2007 and lasts until November. The current six-year protocol to the agreement will expire next year on January 17.
Leading the Seychelles' delegation at the negotiation which is taking place in the island nation is Charles Bastienne, Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture. The EU delegation is headed by Emmanuel Berck, Deputy Head for Trade Negotiations and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements of the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement is a longstanding cooperation agreement between Seychelles and the EU which enables EU vessels to fish in the waters under the jurisdiction of Seychelles.
While under the Fisheries Protocol, the EU provides Seychelles with a total financial contribution of 30 million euros including access fees for its fishing vessels operating in the island nation's waters. The Protocol also lays down the administrative rules and procedures for the implementation of the agreement including financial support to the sustainable development of fisheries.
The current Agreement and Protocol is valued at 30.7 million euros.
Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has had fishing agreements with the European Union, formerly the European Community, since the late 1990s.
The Fisheries Protocol together with the Economic Partnership Agreement Seychelles has with the EU has generated throughout the year important economic benefits for the island nation. These two complementary agreements have made Seychelles the second exporter of canned tuna to the EU market.
Fisheries is the second top contributor to the island nation.
The negotiations for a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol will take place until Wednesday, August 21.