The European Commission (EC) and Senegal have initialled a protocol to renew the long-standing fisheries agreement between the EU and Senegal for a period of 4 years.

"I welcome this new protocol with Senegal. It will benefit the various parties involved. This deal clearly demonstrates the EU commitment to achieving sustainable fisheries and strengthens the coherence between the Common Fisheries Policy and other EU policies," said Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, Franz Fischler.
 
"Fishing possibilities for EU vessels have been decreased on sensitive stocks and technical measures including a 2-month biological rest have been agreed to give more protection to fish stocks and to minimise the risk of competition with the artisanal fleet. The financial compensation has been increased from €12m to €16m per year with a share of 18%, that is €3m, dedicated to partnership measures designed to support conservation of fish stocks and strengthen the Senegalese fishing sector."

Fishing opportunities

This four-year protocol will cover the period 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2006. Overall fishing possibilities on demersal fisheries (species living near the seabed) have been decreased from 10,000 Gross Tonnes (GT) to 8,000 GT. Thus, in the interests of the local artisanal fleet, fishing possibilities for coastal demersal species have been reduced from 2,131 GT to 1,500 GT. The EU also withdrew its request for fishing possibilities on pelagic (mid-water) species which are the preserve of the artisanal sector.

The fishing possibilities for deep demersal fisheries have also been slightly reduced (6,500 GT, down from 7,869 GT) but remain the same for tuna vessels (54) and surface long liners (23).

Operational and technical measures

One of the innovations in this protocol is the establishment of a 2-month biological rest to help fish stocks. The fishing zones where EU vessels can operate have been reduced to afford greater protection to the artisanal fleet. There will be observers onboard EU vessels. The number of Senegalese fishermen to be employed on EU vessels has been increased from 33% to 50%.

Financial contribution

The financial contribution will amount to €16m of which €3m will be used for the development of a partnership between the EU and Senegal. The measures planned under this partnership include scientific research and evaluation of the state of fish stocks, development of the Senegalese control and monitoring system, increasing the security of the artisanal fishing vessels, the development of the Senegalese institutional structures for fisheries management and provision of training for fishermen. The cost of licences for the shipowners operating under the agreement will also be increased allowing for a better balance between the cost of the protocol between the EU and shipowners.