Explanatory Memorandum to COM(2007)15 - Conclusion of the fisheries agreement with Madagascar

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The Community and the Republic of Madagascar negotiated and initialled, on 21 June 2006, a Fisheries Partnership Agreement which provides Community fishermen with fishing opportunities in Madagascar’s fishing zone. This Partnership Agreement, accompanied by a Protocol and the Annex thereto, was 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 Madagascar on fishing off the coast of Madagascar which entered into force on 28 January 1986.

The Protocol and the Annex thereto setting out the technical and financial conditions governing the fishing activities of European Community vessels were signed for a period of six years from 1 January 2007. Pending the entry into force of the new Agreement, this Protocol and the Annex thereto will enter into force on the date on which the Parties notify each other of the completion of the procedures necessary for that purpose. They will apply with effect from 1 January 2007.

The main objective of the new Partnership Agreement is to strengthen cooperation between the European Community and the Republic of Madagascar, thereby creating a partnership framework within which to develop a sustainable fisheries policy and sound exploitation of fisheries resources in Madagascar’s fishing zone, in the interests of both Parties. The Commission’s negotiating position was based in part on the results of an ex-post and ex-ante evaluation carried out by independent experts.

The two Parties are taking part in a political dialogue on topics of mutual interest in the fisheries sector. In the Partnership Agreement, the current priorities of national fisheries policy in Madagascar will allow the identification by mutual agreement between the two Parties of objectives, and the annual and multiannual programming to attain them, with a view to ensuring sustainable and responsible management of the sector.

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

The financial contribution is fixed at EUR 990 000 per year against a reference tonnage of 11 000 tonnes. This tonnage may be increased to 12 000 tonnes from 2007 and the financial contribution increased to EUR 1 080 000 per year if the total catch in 2006 exceeds 11 000 tonnes. Of this financial contribution, 80% will provide annual financial support for defining and implementing a sectoral fisheries policy in Madagascar, with a view to introducing responsible and sustainable fishing. This financial support will be based on annual and multiannual programming.

The fishing opportunities provided for in the Agreement have been laid down according to two categories:  i for the fishing category “freezer tuna seiners”: 44 vessels;  i for the fishing category “surface longliners”: 44 vessels.

In addition, five vessels may carry out exploratory line or bottom longline fishing for demersal species over two six-month periods.

Shipowners’ fees have been fixed for each category and, overall, could provide Madagascar with an additional annual income of around EUR 385 000 (for a reference tonnage of 11 000 tonnes) or EUR 420 000 (if the reference tonnage increased to 12 000 tonnes).

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 Madagascar by Regulation.