See also:
» 15.11.2010 - São Tomé economy back on track
» 06.04.2010 - São Tomé gets ferry link with Cape Verde
» 06.11.2009 - São Tomé to establish state oil company
» 16.04.2009 - Vaccine drop to give São Tomé tourism boost
» 05.08.2008 - São Tomé invests in undersea link
» 25.07.2008 - Economic stability a must for São Tomé and Príncipe
» 25.06.2008 - São Tomé and Príncipe flights back to Europe route
» 20.06.2008 - Limited IMF aid for São Tomé and Príncipe

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São Tomé and Príncipe
Economy - Development | Environment - Nature

EU nets fisheries deal with São Tomé

afrol News, 13 March - 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.

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