Explanatory Memorandum to COM(2007)180 - Conclusion of the fisheries agreement with Kiribati

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dossier COM(2007)180 - Conclusion of the fisheries agreement with Kiribati.
source COM(2007)180 EN
date 12-04-2007
The Community and the Republic of Kiribati have negotiated and initialled on 19 July 2006 a Fisheries Partnership Agreement which provides Community fishermen with fishing opportunities in the Kiribati fishing zone. This Partnership Agreement, accompanied by a Protocol and the Annex thereto, has been signed for a period of six years from its entry into force and is renewable. On the date of its entry into force, this Agreement repeals and replaces the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Kiribati on fishing off the coast of Kiribati which entered into force on 16 September 2003.

The Commission’s negotiating position was based in part on the results of an ex-post and ex-ante evaluation carried out by external experts.

The main objective of the new Partnership Agreement is to strengthen cooperation between the European Community and the Republic of Kiribati, thereby creating a framework of partnership in which to develop a sustainable fisheries policy and responsible exploitation of fisheries resources in the Kiribati fishing zone, in the interests of both parties. The two Parties are taking part in a political dialogue on topics of mutual interest in the fisheries sector. Within this new Fisheries Partnership Agreement, special attention will be given to supporting the Fisheries policy of Kiribati. The two parties will agree on the priorities to be decided upon for such support and they will identify the objectives, the annual and multiannual programming and the criteria to assess the results to be obtained, with a view to ensuring a sustainable and responsible management of the sector.

The financial contribution is fixed at EUR 478 400 per year. Of this financial contribution, 30% shall be allocated the first year to the support and implementation of initiatives taken in the context of the sectoral fisheries policy drawn up by the Government of Kiribati. This percentage is fixed at 40% the second year and at 60% the year thereafter.

As regards fishing possibilities, 4 purse seine vessels and 12 surface long-liners shall be allowed to fish. At the request of the Community and depending on the management decisions of the Parties to the Palau Arrangement , the number of fishing licences for purse seine vessels may be increased. The Protocol fixes a reference tonnage of 6 400 tonnes of tuna per year. The Protocol also establishes that the allocation of fishing possibilities by Kiribati for EC vessels must be compatible with the management decisions to be taken, on a regional basis, by the Central West Pacific nations in the context of the Palau Arrangement for the Management of the Western Pacific Purse Seine Fishery . It is established that the EC fishing effort in Kiribati EEZ will have to be in line with appropriate tuna stock assessments based on scientific criteria, including the scientific overviews conducted yearly by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The Partnership Agreement also provides for encouraging economic, scientific and technical cooperation in the fisheries sector and related sectors.

The Commission proposes on this basis that the Council adopt the conclusion of this new Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Kiribati by Regulation