- The European Union (EU) and the island state of São Tomé and Príncipe have reached a new fisheries agreement that is to enter into force on 1 June. Out of the 43 European fishing vessels that may operate in São Toméan waters according to the new deal, 26 are to be Spanish.
EU officials yesterday announced that the fisheries negotiations with São Tomé had been finalised and a new agreement had been reached. The EU maintains fisheries agreements with most coastal African nations that set quotas, number the vessels allowed, regulate environmental issues and put a price tag on the large-scale fish sale.
Under the new fisheries agreement, the government of São Tomé is to receive an annual economic compensation of euro 663,000, out of which half is to finance investments in the government's own fisheries policies. Most of the compensation is on behalf of the lucrative tuna fisheries, where EU vessels were given an annual quota of 8,500 tonnes.
The previous EU-São Tomé fisheries agreement was signed in 2002 and renewed in January 2005 until end-May last year. During the old agreement, a total of 61 EU vessels were allowed to fish in São Tomé waters, but with a lower compensation paid for each vessel.
Under the new agreement, this is reduced to 43 fishing vessels, out of which a total of 26 are flying the Spanish flag. Other major beneficiaries are France and Portugal. The authorised EU fleet includes 25 tuna fishing vessels and 18 surface long-liners.
The fisheries agreement lacks many of the control mechanism becoming standard in the EU's deals with other countries, which is blamed on the lack of monitoring infrastructure in São Tomé and the relatively small financial dimension of the agreement. In most current deals with the EU, the Europeans include the funding of a satellite monitoring system in partner nations.
In the São Tomé deal, however, control mechanism are limited to an obligation by all European vessels operating in São Toméan waters to register with local authorities. After filling their quotas, captains are to report their catches to the São Tomé Ministry of Fisheries.
Environmental groups for a long time have criticised the EU's excessive fishing in African waters, often stimulated by unsustainable quotas and poor control mechanisms to halt overfishing. In addition, many pirate fishers operate in these waters, selling their uncontrolled catches in Spanish ports. Without satellite monitoring of São Toméan waters, local authorities remain mostly impotent when it comes to halt irregular fishing.
Also, little research has been done on tuna and other fish stocks in the African Atlantic. Environmentalists therefore hold there is no way of knowing whether the EU's fishing quotas are sustainable or not.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.