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EU and Seychelles initial Access Agreement for Seychelles’ vessels to fish in EU waters

The European Commission announced in a press release that the EU and the Seychelles have successfully initialled a Fishery Access Agreement, which will allow Seychelles' flagged vessels to operate in the waters of Mayotte. These will become EU waters when Mayotte becomes an outermost region of the EU on 1 January 2014.

The Seychellois Ministry of Foreign Affairs also highlights that the agreement will allow eight tuna purse seine vessels to operate in Mayotte waters under the jurisdiction of the EU for the next 6 years against the payment of licence and catch fees coming directly from the ship owners.

This agreement will promote "joint efforts to maintain and expand general fishery governance based on the highest standards of sustainability, transparency, control and monitoring of the respective fleets", and will "serve as a benchmark for similar types of agreements for access to fisheries resources between sovereign states in the region and for the entire Indian Ocean tuna fisheries management approach."

For the EU this is the first inter-governmental agreement that has provided the right to fish to vessels of a third country in its waters on the payment of fees. It also represents a major step forward for the Seychelles as it ensures the continuity of the operations of its fleet, thus contributing to Seychelles' blue economy. The new agreement builds on the recently agreed new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Seychelles.

The 2013 EC evaluation of the EUSeychelles FPA gives details about the composition of the Seychelles tuna fleet, highlighting that they are "vessels of Spanish ownership flagging the Seychelles flag".