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EU and Asian tuna groups could ink private deal with Liberia

August 28, 2013

French and Spanish tuna fleets are in discussion with Liberias government to negotiate a private agreement for accessing tuna resources in Liberias EEZ. Last year, these European companies settled a case with Liberia, after using what turned out to be forged licences.

The private agreement is currently being prepared to be circulated among tuna companies that have applied for licenses, stated the head of Liberia fisheries administration. The agreement, in the form of a co-signed memorandum of understanding, is to be between the Liberia National Bureau of Fisheries and each company or association involved. It will set out the process and conditions for delivering tuna licences. Similar talks have also taken place with Sierra Leone.

What worries the European sector is the fragility of such private agreement. Undercurrent News indicates that the EU tuna fishing sector is therefore also lobbying the EC to negotiate bilateral agreements with Liberia and Sierra Leone that would give them more certainty.

Liberia needs to show the rest of the world that [it] is capable to put in practice the provisions of its fisheries act to attract foreign investments and generate income, because [] today there are only two foreign vessels registered to operate in the Liberian waters, concluded the EU tuna companies representative.