The European Economic and Social Committee (CESE) believes that the European Union (EU) should continue to implement EU tariffs on processed tuna products, in order to maintain competitiveness.
They also requested that the Member States and the Council work towards the protection of tuna fleets operating in the Indian Ocean from pirate attacks.
In its report ‘The Status and Challenges of tropical tuna fleets of the European Union’, which was approved last week, the Committee argues that it is essential to conserve fisheries partnership agreements for the continuation of activities carried out by European tuna vessels.
The opinions of the Committee were presented by Gabriel Sarró, as rapporteur, and also participating as an expert was the secretary general of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca), Javier Garat.
The Committee believes that the compensatory allowance for tuna delivered by the European fleet for the processing industry should be in its original context, ie 93 per cent of Community reference price.
In recent years, this was devalued considerably, reaching 87 per cent, states the Committee.
“The report was a response to a query sent to us by the Spanish presidency of the European Union,” said Cepesca.
“It points to the major challenges facing the tropical tuna fleet from the EU, comprising of 54 tuna freezing vessels (34 Spanish and 20 French) with a catch of 400,000 tonnes per year, almost 10 per cent of the world catch of tropical tuna, working in an environment of unfair competition by fleets from other countries and a strict legal framework created by the EU itself.”
For the EESC, the survival of the EU tuna industry depends on analysing and developing new surveillance and safeguard measures within the Interim Association Agreement between Brussels and the Pacific States.
Cepesca insists that it is crucial to “retain the ACP and SPG+ preferential agreements and keep them unchanged, to prevent such events such as the recent granting of universal origin in Papua New Guinea and Fiji, as they introduced catches with zero tariffs without proof of compliance with rules of origin, which upsets the world tuna market as a form of ‘laundering products from illegal fishing’.”