Posted on 30 September 2020
Evaluations of fishing agreements could become essential tools for dialogue on sustainable fisheries between the EU, the third country and their stakeholders.
In a world where fishing resources are increasingly coveted and marine habitats face threats posed by climate change and human activities, both the European Union (EU) and third country coastal States involved in Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) must take their responsibilities to achieve sustainable fisheries. These include the sustainable management of marine resources (i.e. maintaining healthy fish populations and marine ecosystems), supporting the fisheries-dependent communities of third countries, and the protection of sensitive species such as seabirds from the impacts of fishing.
In the last ten years, evaluations of SFPAs have undergone considerable improvements in two key ares: they are public and accessible, and a wide range of stakeholders (local fishing organisations, trade unions, NGOs and EU industry) are consulted.
SFPA evaluations have the potential to become an essential tool for dialogue on sustainable fisheries between the EU, the third country and their stakeholders. To achieve this, BirdLife Europe, the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements and WWF present recommendations for further steps to be taken to strengthen the evaluation process. Specifically, the evaluations should adequately assess:
- The impact of the EU fleet on the marine ecosystems (i.e. bycatch of sensitive species)
- The implementation of transparency clauses of the fishing agreement
- The needs of women in fisheries
- The implementation of the social clause (working conditions on board, professional training)
- The contribution of fishing agreements to achieve SDGs
The current evaluation reports are crucial to increase the comprehension of the impact of EU SFPAs for a range of stakeholders both within third countries and the EU, as well as for a broader understanding on issues of fisheries management in third country waters.