As hard currency earners, fisheries access agreements between WAMER countries and other countries such as the EU represent crucial social and economic instruments, even though national, regional, and international fisheries experts recognise that many important fish stocks are overexploited.
Unbalanced negotiations and perverse subsidies
In addition to being unsustainable, disproportionate benefits accrue to Europe as a result of unbalanced negotiations and perverse subsidies.
A recent EU study found that each euro which is invested in fisheries agreements yields three euros to the European fisheries sector. By reducing the profitability of fisheries agreements for Western African states, the current EU fishing agreements run contrary to the EU development policy to the benefit of the European fisheries industry. And if this was not enough, there is also significant illegal fishing.
Research, surveillance, and local capacity
In order to promote responsible and sustainable fishing, better access agreements must be negotiated, implemented, and monitored.
Research must be strengthened to facilitate stock evaluations and season setting. Surveillance must be strengthened and the abilities of local players to effectively manage their fisheries resources must be strengthened both nationally and regionally.