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EU Fisheries Commissioner Discusses Protocol with Madagascar

MADAGASCAR - EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki met 2 July with Mr Jean Omer Beriziky, Prime Minister of Madagascar.

Commissioner Damanaki stated: "I welcome the recent initialling of a two-year Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Madagascar: the Commission is determined to further strengthen our cooperation in the fisheries domain. Madagascar is not only an important partner with regard to our bilateral relationship but in the regional contex as well, as member of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission".

Commissioner Damanaki also encouraged the Malagasy administration to further enhance the concrete achievements regarding the implementation of actions funded by sectoral support granted through the Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

During the meeting, Commissioner Damanaki and Prime Minister Beriziky discussed the common commitment to tackle piracy in the area.

The 2013-2014 Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Madagascar was initialled on 10th May 2012 in Antananarivo. It was agreed on the basis of ensuring the sustainability of the stocks, scientific advice, and taking into account the interests of national fishing activities. To this end, in order to avoid adverse effects on the small scale fishermen, EU vessel can be allowed to fish beyond 20 miles (currently 12 miles) from the coastal baseline and can only fish what the locals would not fish and still within the limits imposed by sustainable yields. Moreover, the new Protocol strengthens the instruments for the bilateral cooperation concerning the control and surveillance of fishing activities. In the new Protocol, a clause relating to the respect of Human Rights has been introduced. Moreover, the new Protocol includes an element of conditionality, relating to the implementation of sectoral policy, and the requirement of exclusivity in the EU fisheries.

The Protocol provides the EU with fishing opportunities for 96 vessels targeting tuna and tuna-like species. In return, the EU will pay Madagascar an annual compensation of EUR 1.525.000, out of which EUR 550.000 is earmarked to support the fisheries policy of Madagascar. In taking up the opportunities offered by Madagascar, vessel owners will have to pay a license fee in order to be authorised to fish in Malagasy waters. The Member States with an interest in this Protocol are mainly France, Portugal and Spain.

Lucy Towers

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