The Future of Fisheries Partnership Agreements
Almost since their inception, at the end of the 70’s, fisheries “cash for access” Part of the answer may be the lack of trust. Despite the EC’s best efforts to improve the content of the agreements (introducing exclusivity and social clauses, increasing support to research, MCS, etc), the basis of the Fisheries Partnership Agreements has agreements, and later on, fisheries partnership agreements (FPAs), have attracted criticism. If some attempts have been made to address such criticisms through the Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPAs), the basis for the agreements have remained the same for the EU: the need to secure long term access to third countries fish resources and to maintain its fleet presence in third countries and international waters, paving the way to the failure of this policy to contribute to sustainable fisheries.
However, it needs to be recognised that FPAs have been a unique experience at the global level, to try and reconcile often conflicting interests. In our view, there is however a need for a fundamental change of the guiding principles and framework for EU fisheries relations with developing countries, which would give priority to good governance, environmental sustainability whilst providing an enabling environment for developing countries’ fishing sectors, particularly the small scale fishing communities. In doing so, there needs to be a careful assessment of the past experience to see how to organise concretely, and for the benefit of developing countries fisheries, the transition towards this new, more sustainable model.