afrol News, 29 May - The new fisheries agreement between Madagascar and the European Union (EU) includes modern monitoring technology, increasing Madagascar's possibility to survey foreign vessels. This is the first time the EU accepts satellite monitoring of its vessels by a foreign nation.
According to a statement issued yesterday, the European Union and Madagascar have agreed on a set of rules to implement satellite monitoring of EU fishing vessels operating under the EU/Madagascar Fisheries Agreement.
According to these rules, the Madagascar Fisheries Surveillance Centre will be informed every two hours by Control Centres in EU Member States on the position of fishing boats carrying their flags operating in Madagascar waters.
- Implementing rules such as these, which make control of fishing activities more effective, could be introduced in other agreements between the EU and third countries to be renewed in the coming months, if such a request exists from the third countries concerned, the EU statement reads. The EU is currently negotiating its fishery treaties with several African nations.
Both Madagascar and the European Union have been implementing a mandatory satellite monitoring system for their own fishing fleets. Under EU legislation, all fishing boats exceeding 20 metres between perpendiculars or 24 metres of overall length are subject to satellite monitoring wherever they operate.
The novelty of the agreement is that the EU and Madagascar have agreed that "satellite monitoring will be applicable in a non-discriminatory way to all their vessels fishing in Madagascar waters."
- They have also reaffirmed the principle of responsibility of the flag State to monitor the activities of its fishing fleet and to transfer relevant data to Madagascar surveillance authorities, according to the EU statement.
The implementation rules for satellite monitoring entered into force at the same time as the new protocol to the EU/Madagascar Fisheries Agreement, which covers the period from 21 May 2001 to 20 May 2004. This agreement concerns tuna fisheries and provides fishing opportunities for 80 vessels, mainly from Spain and France as well as from Italy and Portugal.