EU-Senegal fisheries agreement

“Un peuple, un but, une foi” One people, one goal, one faith. This is the message that appears on the emblem of Senegal. However, with the latest policies that the Senegalese government has signed with the European Union, political-economic interests have overlooked the benefit and well-being of a great part of its population.

On November 13, the plenary session of the European Parliament approved the protocol for the implementation of the Sustainable Fisheries Collaboration Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Senegal[1], which gives access to Senegalese territorial waters to vessels from Spain, Portugal and France in order to fish, mostly tuna and hake, over a period of 5 years[2]. It is a renewal of the protocol that was signed in 2014, after the suspension of the previous one in 2006. [3]

As established in its third provision, the agreement allows 28 freezer tuna seiners, 10 pole-and-line vessels, 5 longliners, and 2 trawlers to fish. As financial compensation, the EU would pay € 3.05 M annually to Senegal.

So far, it might seem like a trade deal like any other. However, the economic compensation provided by the EU is not fair, especially for people whose revenue depend exclusively on fishing. For purse seiners, the ton of tuna varies depending on the species and size. Prices range from € 800 to € 1500. For pole-and-line vessels, prices range between € 1100 and € 1800. The agreement evaluates the kilo of tuna at 111 FCA, which at the exchange rate in euros would be about 17 euro cents. [4]

Likewise, another Senegalese media that echoes this unfair agreement indicates that in Europe, a kilo of tuna is sold for € 30. Since the agreement allows fishing up to 10,000 tons per year[5], this would make a total of 10 million kilos. If each kilo is sold for € 30, we would be talking about a profit of € 300M. Compared with the 3.05M € that the EU is going to pay, this agreement is little of a “win-win” ; rather, it is a good business for European vessels that are not going to pay the real price of the product. [6]

The losses will not only be economic, but also human. People who make a living from fishing are forced to sail longer distances in order to fish, and even so, the amount they can catch is drastically reduced by agreements like this one. The fact that many people can no longer provide for themselves and their families, implies that they have to flee their countries to seek a better situation.

Senegal convened this Friday, November 13, a day of mourning for the death and disappearance of more than 400 young people at sea. On October 24, at least 140 people died on the shores of Mbour. While criticism falls on the Senegalese Government for its inaction in the face of the latent “lack of prospects” of the youth who are forced to try to reach Europe, the Government itself states that the lack of employment is one of the possible reasons that push young people to the sea, but that is not the only one. [7] Now, the same government that states that unemployment is not the main reason for migration, does not hesitate when it comes to signing agreements by which the economic situation of an entire sector, and the main means of support for many families, is going to be seriously harmed.

We cannot longer pretend that the benefit ensued from Europe does not continue to be in detriment of African population. When you buy fish originating in Senegal, I hope you keep in mind that you are largely supporting European necropolitics.

[1] Agreement:







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