According to the European Union, half of the financial compensation to be paid annually to Cape Verde is aimed at granting the EU access to fish resources, while the other half is aimed at promoting the sustainable management of fisheries in the archipelago, including the enhancement of surveillance and control capacities and support for local fishing communities.
In exchange, during the period of the accord, 71 fishing vessels from EU countries will be allowed to fish for tuna and other migratory species in Cape Verde’s waters – three vessels fewer than was expected until just a few days ago.
Aware of the deluge of criticism that local boat owners, environmentalists and fishermen leveled at the irresponsible manner in which European vessels have been exploiting Cape Verde’s natural resources, the European Union has announced that the new accord calls for a reduction in the longliners’ fishing capacity. It has also promised to create surveillance and control mechanisms for the capture of sharks, and will prohibit EU vessels from fishing within 18 nautical miles of shore for surface longliners and seiners. All sides have also agreed to fully abide by all of the recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
Juvino Vieira claims negotiations still under way
Asked to comment on the subject, Director General of Fisheries Juvino Vieira said that the process is not yet concluded. “Indeed, a certain degree of understanding has been reached, but we haven’t completely closed the accord yet.” According to accounts published in Cape Verdean news outlets, the government is believed to have been holding out for an amount of nearly one million euros annually, but, if the information announced by the European Union is to be believed, the end result is not even close.
Indeed, even the European Union itself acknowledges that the financial benefits of these accords for Cape Verde are “weak,” given that, among other things, the fish caught in its waters is not unloaded in the country, something that could add value for Cape Verde in terms, for example, of fish processing.
Also criticized is Cape Verde’s relatively weak capacity to monitor and control its Exclusive Economic Zone and ensure that the catch volumes declared by the vessels, which are privately owned, actually correspond to what they have taken from Cape Verdean waters.