The stakes of the negotiations of the Senegal-European Union fishing agreement

The stakes of the negotiations of the Senegal-European Union fishing agreement
The stakes of the negotiations of the Senegal-European Union fishing agreement

As the protocol of the fishing agreement between Senegal and the European Union (EU) expires in November 2024, the association for the promotion and accountability of actors in maritime artisanal fishing (APRAPAM) of Senegal invites supervisory authorities to evaluate the current protocol from the point of view of artisanal fishing, so that the concerns of this sector are better taken into account in future negotiations.

Access to tuna resources:

With the exception of two trawlers fishing for hake, all the vessels fishing within the framework of this SFPA are tuna vessels: 28 tuna seiners, 10 pole-and-line tuna vessels and 5 longliners (Spanish, French and Portuguese). Tuna is a highly migratory species of fish that travels in the Atlantic, on the high seas, but also in the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of African countries bordering the Atlantic, including Senegal. These tuna species are managed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which is a regional fisheries management organization (RFMO). ICCAT’s role is to set catch limits for a range of tuna species, to distribute these resources through quotas among its members who have an interest in these fisheries, and to make recommendations for sustainable management. other species of tuna without issuing quotas. For all species, member countries wishing to develop their fisheries must submit a sustainable development plan to ICCAT. Tunas that migrate into Senegalese waters at any time of the year do not belong to Senegal. For species that are managed by quotas, they “belong” to the countries that received quotas from ICCAT. For the others, they belong to the countries that fish for them.

Under the EU-Senegal SFPA, the tunas caught by EU vessels are yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, bigeye tuna, swordfish and blue shark. For yellowfin and skipjack tuna, there is no quota system at ICCAT. As the tuna does not belong to Senegal, the EU, under the SFPA, simply pays a fee to Senegal to access its waters. Read more here.

No room for hake:

Black hake is a demersal species that Senegal shares with Morocco, Mauritania and the Gambia. The available scientific data indicates overexploitation of the resource. Given that these resources are overexploited and that hake trawlers compete with local artisanal fishing, especially on species constituting bycatch, APRAPAM considers that there is no reason to maintain access to hake in a future protocol. .

Sectoral support:

Some EU-funded projects are not suitable for or do not benefit small-scale fishing. In addition, there is a lack of transparency in the allocation choices and use of sectoral support funds.

APRAPAM requested that transparent and participatory mechanisms be put in place to ensure transparency, proper use and accountability on how sectoral support will be used. The impacts of this sectoral support should also be evaluated.

The recent study on agreements Fisheries Agreement published by the European Union highlights that most Fisheries Agreements today contain a clause requiring the parties to be more transparent. The only exception: the agreement with Senegal, where such a transparency clause is completely absent.

APRAPAM suggests that any new fishing protocol agreement proposal be widely debated at the level of the Senegalese Parliament, with the participation of Senegalese artisanal fishing stakeholders, before its signature.


APRAPAM believes that the EU should support the collection of scientific data by the Dakar-Thiaroye Oceanographic Research Center (CRODT) especially for shared small pelagic species, which are a food safety net for the population. The EU should continue to encourage regional management of these small pelagics, which are an important Source of jobs, income and nutrients for populations on the West African coast.

Comparison with other agreements Mauritania

The EU-Senegal agreement is not comparable with the EU-Mauritania Agreement. There Mauritania has decreed having a surplus of resources that cannot be fished by local fishing for a series of stocks, such as shrimp, small pelagics, hake, tuna, etc. Only octopus, thanks to the mobilization of our colleagues in Mauritanian artisanal fishing for whom it is their livelihood, was withdrawn from the agreement.

This significant access to a variety of resources belonging to Mauritania explains the size of the financial compensation paid by the EU. The agreement with Senegal essentially allows European fleets to fish for highly migratory species of tuna as they pass through Senegalese waters. These fleets do not fish for resources belonging to Senegal.

The framework of the Morocco-EU fishing agreement

The Protocol implementing the partnership agreement in the field of sustainable fishing (SFPA) between the European Union (EU) and the Kingdom of Morocco provides fishing opportunities for up to 128 vessels for 6 different fisheries from the EU to the fishing zone covered by this Agreement including adjacent waters of the territory of Western Sahara.

The financial contribution to the 2019 -2023 Protocol, financed by the EU budget, is set at 37 million (Mio) euros per year in the first year of application and reaches 38 Mio euros in the second year then 42. 4 million euros in 3rd and 4th years.

The negotiations for the renewal of the Senegal-EU fishing agreement are an important opportunity to address the concerns of Senegalese artisanal fishing professionals and to advance sustainable and equitable solutions. APRAPAM suggests that these negotiations be very well prepared, with the participation of all stakeholders concerned. She hopes that they will be carried out in a spirit of win-win partnership and mutual respect, and that the resulting agreement will be beneficial for all stakeholders.

Gaoussou GUEYE

President APRAPAM



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