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Cablegate: French Agriculture Minister's Letter to Commerce Secretary

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHFR #2223 3431732
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081732Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5006
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUCPDC/NOAA NMFS SILVER SPRING MD
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 2451
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 1633

UNCLAS PARIS 002223

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USDOC FOR SECRETARY GUTIERREZ
USDOC FOR 4212 for ITA/MAC
USDOC FOR 3150 ITA/CS/OIO
NMFS FOR DR. LENT AND LAURA CIMO
OES/OMC FOR DEIDRE WARNER-KRAMER
USDA FOR FAS/OCRA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIS ETRD SENV ICCAT EU FR
SUBJECT: French Agriculture Minister's Letter to Commerce Secretary
Gutierrez on Information Request For High Seas Driftnet Fishing
Moratorium Protection Act

REF: State 00100509

1. (SBU) French Agriculture and Fisheries (MAP) Minister Barnier
sent a letter to US Commerce Secretary Gutierrez responding to the
Embassy's demarches requesting information for the January 2009
Magnuson-Stevens Act report now being prepared by the Commerce
Department's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and by the OES
Bureau. Following up October 28 meeting between MAP officials and
the Embassy's Counselor for Environment, Science, Technology and
Health (ESTH), Minister Barnier offered to provide any additional
information needed by NMFS and OES. At the October 25 meeting, MAP
officials told ESTH Counselor that, to enforce the EU Commission's
2007 decision banning use of all nets for blue fin tuna fishing, the
French deployed their Navy and that French fishing vessels caught
using nets had been punished. Previously, the French position had
been that thonaille nets for tuna were not driftnets, but the 2007
EU Commission decision banning all nets ended that debate, and
subsequently the French enforced the EU decision.

2. (SBU) Unofficial Embassy translation of text of letter sent by
French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier to Secretary of Commerce
Carlos Gutierrez dated November 21, 2008

Dear Secretary Gutierrez

The U.S. Embassy in Paris informally visited the Agriculture
Ministry on October 28 to enquire about steps taken by French
authorities concerning the management of blue fin tuna in the
Mediterranean Sea.

I would like to point out that this issue comes under the purview of
(European Union's) common fisheries policy and therefore it would
also be useful to question the European Commission. Consequently, I
will also keep the European Commissioner in charge of Fisheries
informed of the answer provided here.

I understand that your questions are based on information supplied
by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic
tunas (ICCAT) and on the report released in October 2006 by the
non-governmental organization OCEANA, "Thonaille: the use of
driftnets by the French fleet in the Mediterranean."

I also understand that these questions are raised in the context of
the preparation of the first biennial report to the U.S. Congress,
in accordance with the U.S. Magnuson-Stevens Act on Fishery
Conservation and Management as amended on January 12, 2007. This
legislation requires the identification of states whose fishing
boats have been involved in IUU fishing or by-catch of protected
marine resources.

I hope that the attached information will help you understand French
fisheries management in the Mediterranean. The members of my
cabinet, the Head of the Maritime Fisheries and Fish Farming
Division, and myself remain at your disposal for any further
information you may need.

Very sincerely

handwritten greetings by Minister Barnier

handwritten signature "Michel Barnier"

3. As mentioned in the letter, MAP has provided by email four
additional documents all in French on its fishing practices, which
have been forwarded to NMFS and OES in Washington. The four
additional documents include a ten page memo entitled "Management of
Blue Fin Tuna Fishing in France"; the law of January 9, 1852 as most
recently amended on January 5, 2006 concerning the regulation of the
French fishing industry; EU Commission Regulation (CE) number
2740/1999 dated December 21, 1999 on implementing regulations
regarding behavior that gravely violates (EU) community fishing
policies; and EU Council regulation 1006/2008 dated September 29,
2008 concerning authorization for EU fishing vessels outside of EU
waters and access of third country vessels to EU waters.

STAPLETON

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