Press release

Negotiations for a Fisheries Access Agreement concluded with EU concerning Mayotte

November 15, 2013

Delegations from the European Union (EU) and the Seychelles have successfully initialled today in Victoria, Seychelles, a Fishery Access Agreement that will allow Seychelles flagged vessels to continue fishing operations in the waters of Mayotte, which will become EU waters, following the transition of Mayotte to become an outermost region of the EU on 1 January 2014.

The Agreement will allow eight tuna purse seine vessels to operate in the waters of Mayotte under the jurisdiction of the EU for the next six years against the payment of licence and catch fees coming directly from the ship-owners.

Both sides welcomed this agreement, which provides another positive element in the strong and strategic relationship shared by the EU and the Seychelles in the region. This Agreement will further strengthen the common cooperation and joint efforts to expand and establish general fishery governance based on the highest standards in terms of sustainability, transparency, control and monitoring of the respective fleets, encompassed in the newly reformed EU Common Fishery Policy.

This common approach will serve as a benchmark for similar types of agreements for access to fisheries resources between sovereign states in the region and for the entire Indian Ocean tuna fisheries management approach.

For the EU this was the first agreement where it has provided the right to fish by vessels of a third country in its waters on the payment of fees. These vessels will be subject to the conservation and management measures established by the competent Regional Fisheries Management Organisation responsible for the management of the tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean (the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission – IOTC) and the entire set of rules of the EU fisheries law.

This represents a major step forward for the Seychelles also, as it ensures the continuity of the operations of its fleet, contributing to Seychelles’ Blue Economy, while fulfilling its obligations as a responsible flag State, enforcing the actions agreed under IOTC to safeguard the sustainability of the resource. These principles of good governance, also embedded in the new Fisheries Act, are of key importance for Seychelles and represent another point of convergence between Seychelles and the EU.

This new Agreement builds on the recently agreed new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Seychelles.