Senegal proposes a review of international fisheries agreements, threatening the future of the EU accession agreement

Senegalese President Bassiro Diomaye Fay has proposed a review of fishing agreements the West African country has signed with foreign companies.

Faye, who took office on 2 May 2024, said another goal of auditing the country’s marine fishing regulations is to curb the growing IUU fishing in Senegal’s coastal waters.

A 2022 Environmental Justice Foundation report Illegal fishing in Senegal „enables some trawlers to catch large quantities of fish, decimating key populations and outwitting small-scale local fishermen who play by the rules.” Senegal is estimated to lose USD 272 million (EUR 252 million) annually to IUU fishing.

Faye, a former tax inspector, told European Council President Charles Michel in early May 2024 that his government’s plan to audit fishing contracts, licenses and regulations would not only give small-scale fishermen a say in the country’s fishing industry, which largely dominates it. by industrial fishermen, but ensures sustainable exploitation of marine resources.

Although he did not give an exact timeline, Fay said he wants to complete the process before the current fishing protocol expires in November 2024.

Michel replied that Europe was ready to evaluate its partnership with Senegal, especially in the fisheries sector, „looking at the facts and, if necessary, seeing how improvements can be made on both sides to address many legitimate concerns.”

„In fact, we believe that the responsibility of the European Union is to be a loyal, reliable partner, without any hidden agenda, because we have a very objective interest in facing the challenges that Senegal faces: the challenge of development, economic rise and improved. People’s living conditions,” he said. said.

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Senegal first signed a fisheries agreement with the EU in 1979, which was implemented through a series of protocols that granted EU vessels access to Senegal’s waters until 2006. The agreement was amended in 2014 and restructured into a five-year contract, which mainly concerns tuna but also contains provisions on black hake.

Both the EU and Senegal signed a new protocol in November 2019 that provides fishing opportunities for tuna seiners, pole and line vessels and longliners from Spain, Portugal and France.

„The fisheries agreement with Senegal is a central part of a network of EU agreements in West Africa, which also includes neighboring Mauritania, Cape Verde, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau,” the EU Parliament said.

While issuing a yellow card warning to Senegal in May 2024, the EU has offered to help Senegal better protect its waters from IUU by sending EU border agency Frontex into its territorial waters.

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