Research program on fisheries agreements
To compensate for declining catches off their coasts, industrialized countries subsidized industrial fishing fleets to extend their activities to more distant waters of third countries, including off Africa. This expansion has been notably done through fisheries agreements established at the beginning of the 1980s to supply Western markets.
These fisheries agreements were widely criticized for their opacity and inequity. They include little incentive for good behavior on the part of foreign fishers, and the profits for ‘partner countries’ are often ridiculously small while foreign vessels are competing with small-scale local fishers. Moreover, the fishing practices used in the framework of these agreements have a significant impact on ecosystems. Several target species are overfished (such as various tuna species in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans) and numerous incidental catches of sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, etc… are made each year.
While scientists believe that much of the industrial fishing in these areas would not be viable without subsidies, the ultimate goal of this project will be to improve the conservation of the marine environment in Africa in order to preserve threatened species, to stop the export of fishing overcapacity from North to South and to protect fishing communities by limiting competition with foreign industrial fisheries.
To achieve this goal, BLOOM will, in a first time, evaluate the economic model of the French fishing fleet operating within the framework of these agreements to confirm or not if their viability is ensured without subsidies. In a second time, the fishing agreements between developed countries and African countries will be studied to produce a roadmap designed to transform deeply these agreements, within the United Nations’ goals for sustainable livelihoods.