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2019, július 23 - 16:00

EU fisheries delegation leaves after fruitful mission


A fisheries and maritime affairs delegation from the European Union left the country yesterday after a mission described as fruitful.

The team, headed by EU commissioner Joe Borg, called on President James Michel on Friday and then had a weekend of talks, meetings and visits to Victoria fishing port and the Seychelles Coast Guard.

In a meeting with the press yesterday morning, Mr Borg and Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Transport Joel Morgan said relations between the EU and Seychelles regarding fisheries – including their partnership agreement – and the problem of piracy were among the main issues discussed.

On Saturday Mr Borg and his delegation visited the Seychelles maritime rescue centre situated at the Seychelles Coast Guard base

Mr Borg said the main focus of his visit was the meeting with stakeholders on Saturday morning, at which they discussed their interests and concerns in the fisheries sector.

There were also talks on ways to step up relations between the EU and Seychelles on these issues.

While its own fisheries policy is being reformed, Mr Borg noted that an international dimension is essential as the EU is thinking of adopting a more regional approach, with more understanding from partners like Seychelles.

He said it is important, for example, to have a regional fisheries management organisation, though the kind of strengthening mechanism necessary for this will have to be studied.

Mr Borg said he believes a more cooperative and more regional dimension will also have to be introduced to maritime issues, where the EU is developing an integrated approach. This would include related issues such as the marine environment, maritime research, energy-related issues, shipping and many more.

With regard to piracy, the immediate area being explored is to provide more security for fishing boats operating in Seychelles’ waters.

Mr Borg said the EU could provide closer monitoring of activities in our waters through satellite surveillance, already carried out for the Indian Ocean Commission.

Other areas of cooperation being discussed include expanding Operation Atlanta further south to cover our region.

In terms of further help, Mr Borg said this is an area that will need more talks as Seychelles is already benefiting from various EU funds. But he did not exclude the possibility of extra aid through regional programmes where Seychelles could be a key partner.

Mr Morgan said Seychelles took the opportunity to discuss all its partnership agreements with the EU and the form they will take in the future. Also on the agenda were various issues that will benefit both the EU and Seychelles – including the regional dimension, which could bring in extra revenue – fisheries management, and investment by Seychellois and foreigners to bring about more value addition in the domestic economy.

He said the new fisheries partnership agreement being proposed to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries by the EU is now being studied by Seychelles. It is due to expire in 2011.

The first ACP fisheries ministers’ meeting to discuss the issue will be held in Brussels early next month, and Seychelles will be represented by a strong delegation, he added.