afrol News, 8 October - "Angola is starving but the EU, while providing emergency aid, has recently signed an agreement to take fish from Angolan waters to feed European markets," environmental groups hiss at the new deal. Now, the EU would also deplete Angolan fish stocks.
A TV story and a briefing paper released today by the conservation group WWF underscore the controversy behind the European Union's policy to buy fishing rights from developing countries, such as Angola. According to the group, this allows the EU's heavily subsidised fleets to operate in, and profit from, other countries' waters, as they have already fished out Europe's own stocks.
The EU currently has fishing agreements with 14 other countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean. WWF's study on the Angolan situation had underlined the many problems linked to these agreements.
These problems include the depletion of fish stocks, on which many African coastal communities are dependent as an important source of food; the lack of limits on the amount of fish that can be caught; the weak enforcement of catch limits and other rules; doubts on the fairness of the price paid by the EU for the fish it takes; and the inconsistency between the EU Fisheries Policy and EU Development Policy.
- With a fishing industry in ruins, Angola is a particularly serious case study, said WWF's Joanna Benn. "The country certainly needs the currency provided by the EU for fishing rights, but it is unknown whether Angolan waters can sustain the fishing agreement signed with the EU. If people in Europe had a better understanding of the source of the fish they buy, they might be more selective when choosing their seafood."
The EU has earmarked up to 35 percent of the euro 15.5 million being paid to Angola for fishing rights for developing small-scale fisheries and other fisheries projects. However, according to WWF, it is actually not clear where that money will go. The environmentalist group also stresses that there are no catch limits in the EU fishing agreement with Angola, except for shrimp.
- The European Union's primary concern should be the sustainability of fish stocks and to help African nations use their fish resources in a way that secures their supply of food and livelihood, so that both Angola and the EU benefit from the agreement, said Julie Cator, WWF's European Fisheries Coordinator.
- Imagine being able to pay to enter a supermarket and then loading up your trolley with almost anything you wanted, she added. "That's what the EU has negotiated with famine-hit Angola."
Later this year, the European Commission will produce detailed proposals for improving fisheries arrangements with other countries than Angola.
Sources: Based on WWF and afrol archives