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Cablegate: Senegal-Eu Fishing Negotiations Stalled

VZCZCXRO0199
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #1703/01 1980738
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170738Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5756
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0738
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0116
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 001703

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES, AF/EPS AND AF/W
USDOC FOR NOAA/NMFS/IA
UN ROME FOR FODAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIS SENV FAO AORC EAGR SG
SUBJECT: SENEGAL-EU FISHING NEGOTIATIONS STALLED


DAKAR 00001703 001.2 OF 002


1. SUMMARY: Government of Senegal (GOS) and European
Union (EU) representatives, after three rounds of
negotiations, failed to agree on the new terms of the
bilateral Senegal-EU fishing agreement. As a result, on
June 30 at midnight, the Senegal-EU Fishing Agreement
expired and the last of the French, Portuguese and Spanish
fishing vessels that once plied Senegalese waters have now
left. The vessels, however, remain nearby in
international waters, hopeful that, as Senegal urgently
needs the money, an agreement will be reached by the end
of July. Senegalese-EU talks broke down when Dakar
demanded a 60 percent reduction in European quotas, which
currently only make up 2 percent of total Senegalese
catches, while maintaining the 10.5 billion CFA francs
(CFAF) (USD 21 million) in compensation stipulated in the
standing agreement. The two parties also disagreed on the
number of authorized Senegalese coast guards in EU fishing
vessels. END SUMMARY.

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2. According to EU colleagues and local press reports,
Senegalese and EU negotiators have been unable to hammer
out a new fishing deal after three rounds of negotiations
that started in early April 2006. Senegal wants the most
lucrative agreement possible while protecting its aquatic
ecosystem. The current agreement (July 1, 2002 - June 30,
2006) - the seventeenth agreement since 1979 - provided
for annual financial compensation of 10.5 billion CFAF to
the GOS, an increase of 25 percent over the previous
agreement (May 1997-April 2001). The 2002-2006 agreement
also prohibited EU vessels from fishing for pelagic
species.

3. In this round of negotiations, EU fishing officials
have proposed 6 billion CFAF, while demanding an increase
in the amount of catch and the number of vessels. In the
earlier agreement, Senegal granted the EU rights to 23
trawlers with a quota of 8,000 gross register tons (GRT)
per year, 66 tuna vessels including 55 canning vessels and
23 surface trawlers.

4. EU fishing officials want to reduce the quantity of
tuna supplied to Senegalese tuna factories. While
factories are only required to obtain 25 percent of their
raw materials from Senegalese vessels, the remaining 75
percent must be supplied by foreign EU vessels.

5. In order to ensure that EU vessels comply with local
regulations and to verify the size and species of their
catches, foreign vessels are required to recruit, at their
own expense, 50 percent of their crew from the Senegalese
coast guard. In the current negotiations EU fishing
officials are proposing a reduction in the number of
Senegalese inspectors.

6. Senegalese fishermen's associations have denounced the
agreement, citing their fears of permanent ecological
damage from over fishing by the more sophisticated and
efficient EU fleet. Locals also decry the alleged
overexploitation of higher-value fish, increasingly
difficult to find in markets. A study released by the
Japanese Agency for International Cooperation (JICA) this
month concluded that five out of Senegal's top seven fish
species were in critical condition and required a prompt
reduction in fishing in order to recover. However, local
media recently reported that EU catches represent only 2
percent of annual volume. National associations also want
more of the benefits of any EU agreement to flow to their
sector to help upgrade and modernize their fleets. In the
past, compensation from fishing agreements has gone
directly to the government rather than the industry.

7. On July 6, Djibo Leity Ka, Senior Minister of Maritime
Economy and International Maritime Transport, announced a
new presidential initiative to revitalize the fishing
sector, at an estimated cost of 46 billion CFAF (USD 92
million). He noted that the Government had already
contributed 8 billion CFAF (USD 16 million) to the sector,
and that 32 billion CFAF (USD 64 million) had been
negotiated with the African Development Bank, but did not
mention whether financing would come from proceeds from an
agreement with the EU. The Government of Japan, which has
already financed more than 10 projects in the fishing
sector, has just donated 4.5 billion CFAF (USD 9 million)

DAKAR 00001703 002.2 OF 002


for a modern fishing center in Lompoul, which President
Wade inaugurated on July 7.

8. Despite a drop in earnings in 2006, fish exports
remain the country's leading export. The GOS estimates
that the fishing sector employs more than 600,000 people,
generates significant temporary employment in the informal
sector, and contributes significantly to the Senegalese
diet.

9. COMMENT: Because the GOS needs the EU funds a new
agreement would bring to supplement its budget and upgrade
the national fleet, we expect Senegal to push negotiations
to closure when they resume in the near future. END
COMMENT.

JACOBS

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