52001PC0173

Proposal for a Council Regulation on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros on fishing off the Comoros for the period from 28 February 2001 to 27 February 2004 /* COM/2001/0173 final - CNS 2001/0088 */

Official Journal 180 E , 26/06/2001 P. 0319 - 0324


Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros on fishing off the Comoros for the period from 28 February 2001 to 27 February 2004

(presented by the Commission)

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

The Protocol to the Fisheries Agreement between the European Community and the Comoros expired on 27 February 2001. A new Protocol was initialled by both parties on 13 December 2000 fixing the technical and financial conditions governing the fishing activities of Community vessels in Comorian waters during the period 28 February 2001 to 27 February 2004.

The Commission proposes, on this basis, that the Council adopt by Regulation the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the related technical and financial conditions agreed between the European Community and the Comoros for the period from 28 February 2001 to 27 February 2004.

A proposal for a Council Decision on the provisional application of the new Protocol pending its definitive entry into force is subject to a separate procedure.

2001/0088(CNS)

Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros on fishing off the Comoros for the period from 28 February 2001 to 27 February 2004

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 37 in conjunction with Article 300(2) and the first subparagraph of Article 300(3) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament [1],

[1] OJ

Whereas:

(1) In accordance with the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros on fishing off the Comoros [2], the two parties held negotiations to determine amendments or additions to be made to the Agreement at the end of the period of application of the Protocol attached to it.

[2] OJ L 137, 2.6.1988, p. 19.

(2) As a result of those negotiations, a new Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the above Agreement for the period from 28 February 2001 to 27 February 2004 was initialled on 13 December 2000.

(3) It is in the Community's interest to approve that Protocol.

(4) The method of allocating the fishing opportunities among the Member States should be defined on the basis of the traditional allocation of fishing opportunities under the Fisheries Agreement,

HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

The Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros on fishing off the Comoros for the period from 28 February 2001 to 27 February 2004 is hereby approved on behalf of the Community.

The text of the Protocol is attached to this Regulation.

Article 2

The fishing opportunities set out in the Protocol shall be allocated among the Member States as follows:

(a) Tuna seiners: Spain: 18 vessels

France: 21 vessels

Italy: 1 vessel

(b) Surface longliners: Spain: 20 vessels

Portugal: 5 vessels

If licence applications from these Member States do not cover all the fishing opportunities set out in the Protocol, the Commission may take into consideration licence applications from any other Member State.

Article 3

The President of the Council is hereby authorised to designate the persons empowered to sign the Protocol in order to bind the Community.

Article 4

This Regulation shall enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at Brussels,

For the Council

The President

PROTOCOL setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros on fishing off the Comoros for the period from 28 February 2001 to 27 February 2004

Article 1

Pursuant to Article 2 of the Agreement, licences authorising simultaneous fishing in Comorian waters shall be granted to 40 freezer tuna seiners and 25 surface longliners for a period of three years beginning on 28 February 2001.

Article 2

1. The financial contribution for the fishing opportunities referred to in Article 1 shall be fixed at EUR 350 250 per year (comprising EUR 140 000 financial compensation, to be paid not later than 1 September each year, and EUR 210 250 for the measures referred to in Article 3 of this Protocol).

2. The financial contribution shall cover catches of 4 670 tonnes per year in Comorian waters. If the quantity of tuna caught by Community vessels in Comorian waters exceeds this weight, the above sum shall be increased proportionally.

3. The financial compensation shall be paid into an account to be indicated by the Government of the Comoros, in the name of the Public Treasury.

4. The use to which the compensation is to be put shall fall within the exclusive competence of the Government of the Comoros.

Article 3

The measures set out below shall be financed from the financial contribution provided for in Article 2(1), to the amount of EUR 210 250 per year , broken down as follows:

(1) assistance for the development of non-industrial fishing: EUR 126 000;

(2) the financing of scientific and technical programmes and interinstitutional support to the Ministry responsible for fisheries and the structures responsible for fisheries surveillance: EUR 31 600;

(3) the participation of Comorian delegates in international meetings concerning fisheries, the Comoros' contribution to regional fisheries organisations and the financing of study grants and practical training courses in the fisheries field: EUR 52 650.

The measures will be adopted by the Ministry responsible for fisheries, which will inform the Commission thereof.

The amounts referred to in points 1 and 2 shall be made available to the structures concerned by 1 September each year at the latest, and paid into the bank accounts of the competent Comorian authorities according to the schedule for their use.

The amounts referred to in point 3 shall be payable as they are used.

The Ministry responsible for fisheries shall transmit an annual report on the implementation of these measures and the results achieved to the Delegation of the European Commission in the Comoros, not later than three months after the anniversary date of the Protocol. The Commission reserves the right to ask the Ministry for any additional information on the results and to reconsider the payments concerned should the measures not be implemented.

Article 4

Should the Community fail to make the payments provided for in Articles 2 and 3, the Fishing Agreement may be suspended.

Article 5

Where severe circumstances prevent fishing activities in the Comorian fishing zone, the Community may suspend payment of the financial contribution following prior consultations, where possible, between the two parties.

Payment of the financial contribution shall recommence once the situation returns to normal and following consultation between the two parties confirming that the situation is likely to allow a return to normal fishing activities.

Article 6

The Protocol to the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros on fishing off the Comoros is hereby repealed and replaced by this Protocol.

Article 7

This Protocol shall enter into force on the date on which it is signed.

It shall apply from 28 February 2001.

ANNEX

CONDITIONS FOR THE PURSUIT OF FISHING ACTIVITIES BY COMMUNITY VESSELS IN COMORIAN WATERS

1. Formalities concerning applications for, and the issue of, licences

The procedure for application for, and issue of, the licences allowing Community vessels to fish in Comorian waters shall be as follows:

1.1 The European Commission, through its representative in the Comoros, shall submit to the Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries, at least 20 days before the date of commencement of the period of validity requested, an application in respect of each vessel wishing to fish under this Agreement, drawn up by the owner. The applications shall be made on the forms provided for that purpose by the Comoros, a specimen of which is attached.

1.2 Licences shall be issued to shipowners for a specific vessel. At the request of the European Commission, a licence issued for one vessel may, and in cases of force majeure shall, be replaced by a licence issued for another Community vessel.

1.3 Licences shall be issued by the Ministry responsible for fisheries to the Commission's representative in the Comoros.

1.4 Licences must be held on board at all times; however, fishing shall be authorised as soon as the Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries has received notification from the European Commission that the advance payment has been made. Pending receipt of the original of the licence, a copy of the licence that has been drawn up may be issued by fax to be held on board the vessel.

1.5 Licences shall be valid for a period of one year. They shall be renewable.

1.6 The licence fee shall be set at EUR 25 per tonne of tuna caught in Comorian waters.

1.7 Licences shall be issued on advance payment to the Comoros of an annual sum of EUR 2 250 per tuna seiner, EUR 1 375 per surface longliner of more than 150 GRT and EUR 1 000 per surface longliner of 150 GRT or less.

1.8 Before the entry into force of the Agreement the Comorian authorities shall communicate the arrangements for payment of the licence fees, in particular the details of the bank account and the currency to be used.

2. Statement of catch and statement of fees due from shipowners

The captain shall complete a fishing form corresponding to the specimen in Appendix 2 for each period spent fishing in the Comorian fishing zone. The form may be replaced during the period of application of the Protocol by another document devised for the same purpose by an international organisation responsible for tuna fishing in the Indian Ocean.

The forms, which must be legible and signed by the captain of the ship, shall be sent to the IRD (Institut de Recherche et Développement), IEO (Instituto Español de Oceanografía) and IPIMAR (Instituto de Investigação das Pescas e do Mar) for processing within one month of the end of each calendar quarter.

If these provisions are not complied with, the Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries reserves the right to suspend the licence of the offending vessel until these formalities have been carried out and to apply the penalties provided for under national law.

Member States shall inform the European Commission before 15 April of the tonnages caught during the past year, as confirmed by the scientific institutes. On the basis of those figures the Commission shall establish a breakdown of the fees due in respect of a fishing year, which it shall then send to the Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries for its comments.

Shipowners shall receive notification by the end of April of the statement drawn up by the Commission, and shall have 30 days to make any payment due. The shipowner cannot recover the balance in cases where the amount payable in respect of actual fishing operations is less than the advance payment.

3. Inspection and monitoring

Community vessels fishing in the Comorian fishing zone shall permit and facilitate the boarding and fulfilment of the tasks of Comorian officials responsible for the inspection and monitoring of fishing activities. Those officials should not remain on board any longer than is necessary to verify catches by sampling and carry out any other inspection relating to fishing activities.

4. Observers

At the request of the Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries, tuna vessels shall take on board an observer designated by the former to check catches made in Comorian waters. Observers shall have all the facilities needed for the performance of their duties, including access to parts of the ship and documents. Observers shall not remain on board for longer than the time required to carry out their duties. They shall be provided with suitable food and accommodation while on board. Should a tuna vessel with a Comorian observer on board leave Comorian waters, every step shall be taken to ensure that the observer returns to Comoros as soon as possible, at the shipowner's expense.

5. Communication of information

Fishing vessels shall communicate the date and time direct to the Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries immediately on entering or leaving the Comorian fishing zone and their position and catches held on board within three hours of entering or leaving the zone and every three days while engaged in fishing activities in Comorian waters. This information should preferably be communicated by fax or, for vessels not equipped with a fax, by radio.

The Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries shall inform vessels of the relevant fax number and radio frequency when the fishing licence is issued.

The Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries and the shipowners shall keep a copy of fax communications or a recording of radio communications until both parties have agreed to the final statement of fees due referred to in point 2.

A vessel found to be fishing without having informed the Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries shall be regarded as a vessel without a licence.

6. Fishing zones

To avoid adverse effects on small-scale fisheries in Comorian waters, Community tuna vessels shall not be allowed to fish within 10 nautical miles of any of the islands nor within a radius of three nautical miles of fish aggregating devices placed by the Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries, the positions of which have been communicated to the representative of the European Commission in the Comoros.

These provisions may be reviewed by the Joint Committee referred to in Article 7 of the Agreement.

7. Ownership of rare species

Any coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) caught by a Community vessel authorised to fish in Comorian waters remains the property of the Comoros and must be turned over, without charge, to the port authorities of Moroni, Mutsamudu or Mohéli immediately in the best state possible.

8. Transhipment

Community vessel owners must give consideration to the existence of the harbour facilities of the Comoros for any transhipment operations.

9. Procedure in case of boarding

1. Transmission of information

The Comorian Ministry responsible for fisheries shall inform the Delegation and the flag State, within 48 hours, of the boarding of any fishing vessel flying the flag of a Member State of the Community fishing under the Fisheries Agreement in the Comorian fishing zone and shall transmit a brief report of the circumstances and reasons leading to such boarding. The Delegation and the flag State shall be kept informed of any proceedings initiated and penalties imposed.

2. Settlement of boarding

In accordance with the law on fisheries and the relevant regulations, infringements may be settled:

(a) either out of court, in which case the amount of the fine shall be determined in accordance with Comorian legislation laying down minimum and maximum figures;

(b) or by legal proceedings, if no out-of-court settlement was possible, in accordance with Comorian law.

3. The vessel shall be released and its crew authorised to leave the port:

(a) either as soon as the obligations imposed by the out-of-court procedure have been completed, on presentation of the receipt for settlement, or

(b) on presentation of proof that a bank security has been lodged, pending completion of the legal proceedings.

Appendix 1

LICENCE APPLICATION FORM FOR A FOREIGN FISHING VESSEL

Name of applicant:

Address of applicant:

Name and address of charterer of vessel if different from above:

Name and address of representative (agent) in Comoros:

Name of vessel:

Type of vessel:

Country of registry:

Port and registration number:

Vessel's external identification:

Radio call sign and frequency:

Length of vessel:

Width of vessel:

Engine type and horse power:

Gross registered tonnage of vessel:

Net registered tonnage of vessel:

Minimum crew:

Type of fishing:

Proposed catch species:

Period of validity requested:

I, the undersigned, declare that the above particulars are correct.

Date Signature

Appendix 2

>TABLE POSITION>

FINANCIAL STATEMENT

1. Title of operation: New Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Community and the Comoros

2. Budget heading(s) involved: B7-8000

3. Legal basis: Article 37 of the Treaty in conjunction with Article 300(2) and the first subparagraph of Article 300(3)

EC-Comoros Agreement (OJ L 137, 2.6.1988)

4. Description of operation

4.1 General objective: Protocol and Annex applying for three-year period

4.2 Period covered and arrangements for renewal

Period: 28 February 2001 to 27 February 2004 Arrangements for renewal by negotiation before the Protocol expires

5. Classification of expenditure or revenue

5.1 Compulsory expenditure

5.2 Differentiated appropriations

5.3 Type of revenue involved

6. Type of expenditure or revenue

-Other: financial contribution to a non-member country in exchange for fishing opportunities granted by it and set out in the Protocol

7. Financial impact

7.1 Method of calculating total cost of operation (relation between individual and total costs)

Cost of tuna per tonne: // EUR 75

Annual reference tonnage : // 4 670 tonnes

Total annual cost : // EUR 350 250

Total cost during the period covered by the Protocol (3 years): // EUR 1 050 750

7.2 Itemised breakdown of cost

EUR (at current prices)

>TABLE POSITION>

7.3 Schedule of commitment and payment appropriations

EUR (at current prices)

>TABLE POSITION>

8. Fraud prevention measures

Since the financial contributions are made by the Community in direct exchange for the fishing possibilities offered, the non-member country uses them for whatever end it chooses.

However, reports must be transmitted to the Community, in accordance with the arrangements laid down in the Protocol, on the use of certain appropriations. In the case of the Comoros, an annual report is to be submitted on the implementation of all measures outlined in Article 3 of the Protocol and the results achieved. The Commission reserves the right to request additional information on the results achieved and to review the payments in light of the actual implementation of the measures. It should also be noted that the amounts indicated in Article 3 (targeted measures) are paid to the Comorian authorities only according to the schedule for their use.

In addition, the Member States whose vessels operate under this Agreement must certify to the Commission the exactitude of the data indicated in the tonnage certificates of the vessels so that the licence fees may be calculated on a guaranteed basis. To that end, the Agreement includes an obligation for Community vessels to complete catch declarations.

9. Elements of cost-effectiveness analysis

The unit cost of each tonne of tuna caught is EUR 75 payable by the Community and EUR 25 payable by the ship-owners (in the previous Protocol the unit cost was EUR 80 for the Community and EUR 20 for the ship-owners). The average commercial value of tuna is around EUR 1 000 per tonne.

A feature of tuna fishing which is directly related to the highly migratory nature of the species is the fact that the actual catch in a given zone can vary very significantly from one fishing year to the next.

The catches taken by the Community fleet in the waters of non-member country cannot therefore be known in advance. Therefore, as in all other tuna agreements, the Community pays a fixed amount which is directly proportionate to an expected catch weight ("reference weight") calculated on the basis of the average catches recorded during previous years, adjusted where necessary according to the number of vessels authorised to fish. If the expected catch weight is exceeded, an additional amount is paid. If the expected catch is not achieved, the non-member country keeps the amount initially paid.

Moreover, the guidelines laid down by the Council for negotiating fisheries agreements with ACP States specify that account must be taken of the Community's interest in maintaining or establishing fisheries relations with the countries concerned.

In the case of the Comoros, during the period of validity of the 1998/2001 Protocol, EC ship-owners obtained licences for tuna fisheries at the rates of uptake shown in the table below. In addition, average annual catches recorded during this period remained lower than the reference weight of 4 500 tonnes. Taking into account the increase in overall fishing opportunities (between 60 and 65 vessels), the reference weight has been increased to 4 670 per year.

>TABLE POSITION>

(*) grt: gross registered tonnes

The Community welcomed the Comoros' commitment to allocate a substantial portion of the financial contribution to implementing targeted measures in favour of the development of the local fisheries sector. Sixty per cent (60%) of the total financial contribution of EUR 1 050 750 (over three years) is earmarked for measures to develop fisheries, and small-scale fisheries in particular, as compared with 50% under the previous Protocol.

The advance fees paid by the ship-owners to obtain their licences have been increased for all categories of vessels: for each tuna seiner the advance fee has risen from EUR 1 750 to EUR 2 250. For surface long-liners the fee has risen from EUR 750 to EUR 1 000 for vessels of less than 150 gross registered tonnes (grt) and to EUR 1 375 for vessels of more than 150 grt.

Whereas the annual cost of the Agreement to the EC budget is set to decrease by 2.7% with respect to the earlier Protocol, the contributions to be paid by the ship-owners are to increase on average by approximately 35%.

The Agreement is clearly profitable in that the value of catches far exceeds the cost of the Protocol.

In addition to the direct commercial value of the catches for the vessels concerned, there are the following evident benefits:

-guaranteed employment aboard the fishing vessels;

-employment multiplier effect in the ports, auction rooms, processing factories, shipyards, service enterprises, etc.;

-these employment opportunities are in regions where no other opportunities are available;

-contribution to the supply of fish to the Community.

Obviously, in addition to those benefits, one must take account of the importance of our relations with the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros in the fisheries field and our overall political relations.

10. Administrative expenditure (Part A of the budget)

No impact on administrative expenditure.