Bilateral Fisheries Agreements

Access by third-country ships to EU waters, for example. B in overseas territories, is governed by access agreements with the EU. Currently, Venezuelan-flagged vessels are fishing in French Guiana and Seychelles-flagged vessels fishing in Mayotte. The EU is negotiating with non-EU EU EFA countries (formerly in the form of fishing partnership agreements) to allow EU vessels to fish for surplus stocks in that country`s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Under these agreements, the EU makes a contribution to the coastal state for access to its fisheries resources. In addition, there is no EU-wide database containing information on private agreements between EU companies and third countries. Even if the vessels benefiting from these agreements are FLAGGed or operated by EU citizens, the EU has not established a procedure to ensure that these rules comply with EU fishing legislation, comply with labour law or guarantee the EU operator that the authorisation they have obtained is valid. Information on private agreements since 2008 has been included in access to requests for information. However, the European Commission has not been able to provide information on the fishing activities of EU Member States under private agreements. Private agreements are therefore not included in this database. The EU has two types of fisheries agreements with third countries, private agreements or chartering between EU companies and third countries.

Most of these SFAPs are negotiated with developing countries. In 2014, more than EUR 130 million was paid to 13 countries to ensure access to fishing for the EU fleet under this type of agreement. The only publicly available information about the SFPA is from the EU, EU Member States that have requested access to the country`s waters and available fishing opportunities. EU companies are also negotiating private agreements with some non-EU countries that give them private access to fisheries resources in the waters of these coastal states. This is only permissible if there is no Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) between the EU and the country concerned. In addition, EU companies, in cooperation with local companies, have entered into charter agreements for their EU vessels to fish for the resources of some coastal states. These relate to the joint management of common stocks with Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. EU vessels fish in Norwegian, Icelandic and flank waters under FAR licences, and vice versa. As many stocks in the North Sea and North-East Atlantic are shared across maritime borders, the EU, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands coordinate their fishing activities and trading quotas. These agreements are extremely important for a large part of the EU fleet, particularly for the agreement with Norway, which includes more than 2 billion euros in quotas. In addition, under the current regulation, EU Member States whose vessels fish in third country waters under private or chartered agreements can only provide the Names of the vessels concerned to the European Commission. It is not required to provide other relevant information, such as the target species, fishing area, period or equipment, or to make this information available to the public.

This prevents the Commission, non-EU countries with a fishing or management interest in the same stocks and other stakeholders from fully understanding the activities carried out by these vessels and ensuring that they are legal and sustainable.