Seminar on fisheries agreements

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SEMINAR ON FISHERIES AGREEMENTS. To promote these agreements as the best way to fight off the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

On November 13, 2013 the seminar on Fisheries Agreements, Transparency, Sustainability and Co-operation was held at the European Parliament organized by the Parliamentary Group made up of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) chaired by Izaskun Bilbao (MEP Grupo ALDE http://www.izaskunbilbao.eu/), representatives appointed by DGMARE, DG Desarrollo, Coalition For Fair Fisheries Agreements (CFFA), LDRAC and ANABAC took part in this seminar.

This seminar was aimed at dealing with the need to promote such fisheries agreements as the best way to fight off the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. As opposed to the image released by the European tuna sector the reality is that each European vessel fishes in compliance with such agreements, being absolutely transparent. The wording of every fishery agreement signed by the EU is made public. By means of such wording we are aware of the assigned quotas as well as the fishing conditions. The funds third countries receive are monitored and a final assessment of the effect of such funds on the local development is performed. Furthermore, the tuna fishing sector is promoting a pilot governance scheme focused on achieving a common fishing policy throughout Africa in order to disseminate such values towards most of the waters in the world.

Therefore, ANABAC (EUROTHON) —the "European tuna fishing sector— has defended the extension of the European pattern on such fisheries agreements to third countries all over the world, and has requested the European Commission to reach further agreements with other countries and has demanded further participation in the negotiation thereof.

ANABAC's managing-director, Juan Pablo Rodriguez Sahagún, has played an important role in this seminar on behalf of the Eurothon organization by highlighting in his speech that for his sector it is a priority to publicize throughout Europe that the activities performed by this fleet are absolutely transparent and monitored and are developed bearing in mind sustainability criteria that other foreign fleets fail to abide by, neither within the environmental field nor within the social one. Likewise, he highlighted the influence this activity has on third countries with which such agreements are signed and through which a visible and evident development is promoted as well as to provide such sectors with quality workforce, especially the feminine one, that are severely punished by unemployment and social marginalization and exclusion. Thus, he insisted on betting without complexes on this true way of constructive co-operation with third countries, which also allow us to safeguard employment and the industrial activity in Europe and co-ordinate in a better way the range of actions linked to such agreements with the general co-operation policy. Finally, he has requested further participation of the tuna fishing sector in the negotiation of such agreements in line with the proposals submitted by the representative appointed by the Long Distance Fleet Advisory Council.

During the debate some disagreements also arose between the positive effects such agreements have for the fish canning industry of such third countries and the damage caused to them when more general free trade agreements are signed with other states beyond the control of the EU in which the specific functions of this industry are not borne in mind.

Carlos Alderguía, representative appointed by the Long Distance Regional Advisory Council (LDRAC) presented as an exclusive premier at this seminar the conclusions of a pioneering seminar called upon to disseminate the philosophy on transparency, sustainability and co-operation of the European fisheries agreements towards most of the waters in the world. In particular, a stable framework of collaboration has been designed among the Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Co-operation among Coastal African States of the Atlantic Ocean and the foregoing advisory council. The first one is an Intergovernmental Organization established in 1988, made up of 22 coastal states of Western Africa (from Morocco to Namibia) The latter is an advisory body that since 2007 advises the European Institutions on issues related to fisheries agreements, relations with regional fishery management organizations, trade relations and the international market of fishery products. It is made up of 64 organizations, e.g. fisheries, NGOs, trade unions, women's networks, etc. as well as 12 member-states. At this seminar, it was intended to improve in Western Africa the Governance and Transparency as a tool in the fight against the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The "tuna fishing transparency initiative" was presented at this very seminar by the catching sector.

Following this seminar we intend to progress in the consolidation of this policy, which is regarded as the best antidote against the emergence and proliferation of fleets in the world that fail to work under such parameters by promoting the transparency and harmonization of rules and procedures set out in the fishing licenses as well as the coherence for every country within the zone in the use of development aid and funds received via such fisheries agreements.

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