By WILFRED EDWIN
THE EAST AFRICAN
Internal disagreements between the Tanzania mainland and the Isles government of Zanzibar over revenue-sharing have stalled a fishing deal between Tanzania and the European Union.
The crucial Fisheries Agreement, initialled in June 2004, has still to be ratified by the Tanzanian government.
A secret report made available to The EastAfrican reveals that disputes persist between the mainland and Zanzibar over revenue sharing and how to administer licenses to be issued to the European vessels that will be fishing in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under the deal.
The agreement, which would allow a limited number of European boats to fish in Tanzanian territorial waters, in exchange for, in the EU’s words, “a financial contribution and support for the development of sustainable and responsible fishing practices in Tanzanian waters,” requires the EU to pay $847,655 per year — $282,504 for control and surveillance, $105, 931 for institutional support and $162,426 to support local small-scale fisheries — a sum sources say is peanuts compared with the value of the anticipated catch.
But the EU, in a press statement issued in January, insists that, “Failure to adopt the fisheries agreement is not in the interest of Tanzania nor the region, since in the absence of the agreement foreign vessels will continue to purchase individual tuna licences from the Tanzanian authorities costing approximately $18,000 per vessel per year.”
It continues, “Under this private licence arrangement there is little control on fishing as there are no quotas or catch limits and no vessel monitoring. Approximately 70-100 such licences are issued each year, but because fisheries is not a union issue, the mainland and Zanzibar each continue to issue their own fishing licences for the same Exclusive Economic Zone.”
Compiled by an independent consultant commissioned by the EU Parliament, the report, was recently made available to The EastAfrican.
The EU will licence 39 tuna seiners and 31 surface longliners to operate in Tanzania waters to fish for migratory tuna species such as yellowfin, bigeye and skipjack as well as for billfish such as swordfish and possibly sharks. Shipowners will be given the right to harvest 8,000 tonnes of tuna and other migratory species per year.
Second, for each eventual additional tonne caught, the EC will pay a rate of 75 euros per tonne ($100) up to a maximum ceiling of 24,000 tonnes. This financial contribution is in line with other similar longstanding bilateral fisheries agreements with the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique and the Seychelles,” the EU statement adds.
“The EU is concerned about the implications of continued differences and a lack of co-ordination between the two governments over jurisdiction, objectives of management, issuing of licenses, monitoring of fishing activities and legal follow-up to infringement proceeds,” says the report.
Mireille Thom, spokesperson for the EU Commission for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, last week told The EastAfrican that another institutional problem is that Tanzania is not a member of the Indian Ocean Tunas Commission (IOTC).
Ms Thom said that the other impediments is that Tanzania has not implemented a new Deep Sea Fishing Act adopted in 1998, which foresaw a joint control of fishing in the EEZ and the creation of a Deep Sea Fishing Authority.
“It is clearly not possible to effectively manage tuna fishery if Tanzania does not accede to this body,” she said adding that the EU has proposed to Tanzania adoption of the agreement on the accession to the IOTC and effective implementation of the Deep Sea Fisheries Act and continuation of the SADC programme of fisheries surveillance.
The EU Parliament has already approved the Agreement but it will only take effect following the accession of Tanzania to the IOTC, the implementation of an effective programme for the monitoring of fishing activities throughout the Tanzanian EEZ and the setting up by Tanzania of the Deep Sea Fishing Authority provided for the Deep Sea Fishing Authority Act 2007.
“These three actions on the part of Tanzania are necessary before an effective and proper management of the tuna fishery in its EEZ is possible. The Deep Sea Fishing Authority would clarify the relative responsibilities of the federal government and Zanzibar with respect to issuing licenses, surveillance, infringement proceedings,” Ms Thom said.
In March, President Jakaya Kikwete assented to the Deep Sea Fishing Authority Act 2007 that will control the deep-sea fishing in its EEZ, although draft regulations for the DSFA are still pending as it awaits a consultant firm for the job.
The Act gives powers to the appointed director general to issue license in accordance with the criteria approved by the executive committee and revocations of such licenses in case of breach of any provision of this Act.
The Act further says that the government of the United Republic shall retain 30 per cent and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar shall retain 20 per cent of the proceeds obtained from the deal.
Under the Marine and Coastal Environment Management Project (MACEMP), the government is to create a Deep Sea Fishing Authority (DSFA), which will be mandated to oversee all matters pertaining deep-sea fishing.
Experts say under the current licensing system, no one knows how much tuna is being caught in the Tanzanian waters. The EU-Tanzania Fisheries Agreement could, for the first time, have provided the Tanzanian Authorities with important data on Tuna catches.
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