Original publication: July 2016
Author: Megapesca Lda: Ian Goulding
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Impact of Fisheries Partnership Agreements on Employment in the EU and in Third Countries

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This study, requested by the Committee on Fisheries (PECH) of the European Parliament, describes the situation of employment linked to the Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPAs), which the EU has entered into with third countries. The study draws on secondary data from a range of sources to estimate employment linked to FPAs. This employment includes direct employment on board EU vessels engaged in fishing under FPAs and their management, as well as employment in downstream processing of fishery products generated.

The European Union has in place fourteen Fisheries Partnership Agreements with current Protocols. These are with Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Liberia and Gabon in the East Atlantic; Comoros Islands, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius in the South West Indian Ocean; a FPA is also in place with Greenland, an Overseas territory under the sovereignty of Denmark. One new Agreement in the Pacific Ocean (Cook Islands) has been submitted to the Parliament for consent and is awaiting ratification, and is therefore considered in the analysis. Six Agreements are dormant or have expired (those with Kiribati, Micronesia and Solomon Islands in the SW Pacific Ocean, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea in the East Atlantic and Mozambique in the Indian Ocean).

There are two main types of Fisheries Partnership Agreement; nine FPAs concern only large pelagic fish (such as tuna and swordfish[1]), and five are considered to be mixed agreements (four of which also include tunas). Between 2008 and 2013, an annual average of 54 EU purse seine, 76 surface long line and 14 pole and line vessels (144 in total) targeted tunas and other species, which migrate within the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Fishing takes place in international waters, and waters of both FPA and non-FPA coastal states. These vessels typically caught an average of about 341,000 tonnes of tuna and 32,000 tonnes of other large pelagic fish per year, of which about 27% was taken under FPAs. Annually an estimated 122 other vessels (demersal and pelagic trawl, and line fishing vessels) have exploited non-tuna opportunities in the mixed Agreements (and Greenland). These activities generated an additional estimated 227,000 tonnes of fish annually (three quarters of which comprised small pelagic fish caught under the Moroccan and Mauritanian FPAs). The Greenland Agreement also sustains EU fishing activities in Norway and Faroe Islands EEZs through an annual balanced exchange of quotas obtained by the EU under the FPA.

The activities of these 266 EU vessels in total, which have annually utilised FPAs with third countries, sustain an estimated 3,618 EU jobs (including fleet management) and 2,849 jobs of third country nationals (total 6,467). However, since vessels operate only partially under FPAs with third countries the actual employment linked to the Agreements is somewhat less. In the case of vessels targeting tunas and large pelagic fishes, only about one quarter of the catches are made in zones covered by FPAs, and therefore only 691 out of the 2,394 crew jobs in the tuna sector are dependent on the FPAs. There is insufficient data to determine precise dependency on FPAs of fishing jobs in the non-tuna sector.

Landings delivered by fleets utilising FPAs help to sustain about 10,831 jobs in fish processing in the EU (mostly in the canning sectors of Spain, France, Portugal and Italy) although the precise dependency of these posts on the FPA catches cannot be estimated. However, 87 percent of the tuna catches from the EU fleet operating under FPAs is processed in 12 processing establishments located in seven ACP countries, and which employ about 14,660 persons. Three of these are in West African coastal states (Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ghana) and four are located in the Indian Ocean region (Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and Kenya). The supplies derived from catches under FPAs directly account for an estimated 1,664 of these jobs.

Catches of species other than tunas from the five mixed Agreements (which, for the purposes this study, include the EU Senegal FPA which has both tuna and hake components) have generated an estimated 263 EU processing jobs and 79 in third countries (mostly in Mauritania and Morocco, where landing obligations are applied). There are negligible onshore employment benefits to third countries from opportunities for surface longliners, and in the EU’s FPAs with Guinea Bissau and Greenland.

In addition to these jobs, the EU Greenland FPA has historically provided 38 percent of the balanced exchange of quotas (in terms of “cod equivalents”) to the EU-Norway and EU- Faeroe Islands Fisheries Agreements (although the dependency of the exchange with Norway appears to be much higher). Without these contributions, it is unlikely that EU access to important fishing grounds, including North Norwegian waters (the so-called “EEA cod” and “cohesion cod”) can be sustained. However, there is no available data to estimate employment linked to this access.

Overall, the EU’s fourteen FPAs with third countries sustain about 23,320 jobs in the EU and third countries. Not all of these are directly linked to the exclusive activities of vessels under the Agreements, but the study concludes that the sustainability of this employment would be seriously undermined should the vessels not have unencumbered access to these zones. The policy of supporting such access via the instrument of Fisheries Partnership Agreements (and in future Sustainable Partnership Agreements) can therefore be regarded to have had a positive impact on employment in fisheries dependent areas of the European Union and partner countries.

A lack of data has precluded a more detailed analysis of the employment impacts of the FPAs, particularly in relation to non-tuna fishing opportunities. It is recommended that EU Member States and third countries ensure that monitoring activities undertaken by the FPA’s Joint Committees should be aligned with the EU’s data collection framework in relation to socio-economic data, as set out in Council Regulation (EC) No 199/2008 of 25 February 2008. It is also recommended that partner countries should be encouraged to allocate part of the support provided for implementation of sustainable fisheries policies in partner countries to this activity.

[1] Generically referred to as “tunas” in this report, unless otherwise specified.

Link to the full study: http://bit.ly/585-883

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