12 / 1997
The speech made by Dao Gaye, General Secretary of the Collectif National des Pecheurs Artisanaux du Senegal (CNPS), to the Meeting of the EU-ACP Fisheries Agreement Monitoring Group, raises important issues, as evident from the following summary. We welcome the agreement that has been reached between the Senegalese and European authorities, reserving the zone between six and 12 miles for the artisanal fishery, where most of our stocks of coastal demersal species live. However, the artisanal fishworkers are concerned that the fishing possibilities granted to the European boats will be increased beyond the 12-mile zone.
According to the declarations made by the European Commission, the EU would like to see, in the next agreement, an increase in fishing possibilities for its fleet. The CNPS cannot see how this can be justified, given the actual state of the resource. Madame Bonino has already admitted that in agreements like those concluded with Senegal, the fish have been completely wiped out due to a lack of sufficient control.
With the little control that exists in Senegal, with even more boats fishing and even less fish available beyond the 12-mile limit, who can guarantee that these boats will not come into the 12-mile zone? It will completely destroy all our efforts to develop the artisanal fishing sector in Senegal. We have already explained that there is no surplus in Senegal which the Senegalese fishermen are not able to catch themselves, for the long-term benefit of Senegal. Several months ago, the EU signed an agreement with Mauritania. In this, allowance was made for a biological rest period to allow the resource a chance to reproduce. Why are these kinds of positive features
not taken account of in the agreement with Senegal? How can we guarantee that these boats will not plunder our waters during this rest period with Mauritania? In our waters, species also have to reproduce.
When we asked this question, we were told that controls would be intensified at the border. It is, therefore, recognised in Senegal that this risk exists. However, who can assure us that the means of control are adequate? To that, no one has given us an answer.
CNPS has also been working outside Senegal, with fishermen in the West African region. We have learned that in all these countries, the artisanal fishworkers are facing the negative impacts of foreign fishing fleets, particularly European, operating under fisheries agreements in their waters. We know their problems well. They are the same as ours.
This is why we feel we have to develop a shared regional perspective on signing fishery agreements with the EU, and that the EU and ACP states should develop a regional perspective on fisheries agreements.
We also welcome the EU-ACP initiative to formulate a Code of Conduct for Responsible and Fair Fisheries Agreements. In terms of the current negotiations on the agreement with Senegal, measures such as stopping all European access to coastal demersal species and extending the zone reserved for the Senegalese artisanal fishery from six to 12 miles would be appropriate.
But it is imperative that this extension be accompanied by a decrease in the quotas allocated to the European boats and a genuine reduction in the fishing effort deployed by the European fleet. We also call for European support to police our coastal waters. It should also be mandatory for all European boats, especially those which fish around our artisanal fishing zones, to use selective fishing methods. Establishing measures, such as those in the agreement with Mauritania, which allow the resource a chance to reproduce, would also be useful. We
would welcome greater attention being paid to how the financial compensation can be used to develop the artisanal fishing sector. That segment earmarked for the artisanal sector must be paid into a separate account by the EU, where its management would be the responsibility of a committee which also includes representatives of artisanal fishworkers.
The EU has made little effort to gauge the impacts of fisheries agreements it signs with third countries, on either the environments or the needs and rights of populations in these countries. In Senegal, for instance, the over 15 years of EU-Senegalese `co-operation’ has led to the depletion of fish stocks and the disruption of the artisanal fishery. There is a need to review such agreements and to modify them to ensure that such negative effects are
minimised. Fisheries agreements must be negotiated in a transparent and democratic manner, with the active participation of artisanal fishworkers, for it is, after all, their future, which is at stake.
Artigos e dossiês
GAYE, Dao, Around the negotiation table in. Samudra Report, 1996/11, 16