The Ganonaise authorities intend to make good use of its fishing resources to boost its economy in this context of health crisis. After eight months of intense negotiations, the Gabonese Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food, Biendi Maganga Moussavou, and the EU Ambassador to Gabon, Rosario Bento Pais, signed a 6-year memorandum of understanding worth CFAF 17 billion on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 in Libreville. An agreement that will protect the marine environment, promote fishing and processing in this country with 885 km of coastline.
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) between Gabon and the EU marks the beginning of a long process to preserve the country’s fisheries resources.Thus, the local processing industries will experience a considerable boom with the development of the processing of products such as tuna. Fisheries can also become a key sector of the Gabonese economy weakened by the current pandemic.
The Gabonese minister, Biendi Maganga Moussavou, at the end of this agreement with the European Union, affirmed that “the logic of the Gabon Bleu pillar is to make sure that is exploited the fishing potential of our country. That is to preserve our marine ecosystem, to ensure that we are part of a sustainable fishery and to ensure that the benefits of fishing are more sensitive and more visible here in Gabon, for Gabonese industry, for Gabonese jobs, for wealth creation in Gabon.”
The special feature of this agreement in relation to the previous agreements signed by the Gabonese Government in the field of fisheries is the strengthening of scientific capacities, the professionalization of actors, observation and management of the marine environment and marine protected areas, sustainable management of stocks, monitoring of fisheries, and combating illegal fishing.
In addition, in this six-year agreement, Spanish and French vessels can legally come and fish in Gabonese waters but, to preserve Gabon’s interests, the ships must land at the port of Libreville and invest in order to create jobs or to give a new life to the industrial processing chain. The European fleet with access to Gabonese waters will consist of 27 tuna seiners, 6 pole-and-line tuna vessels and 4 trawlers targeting demersal fish and crustacean species, as part of an exploratory fishery. The partnership’s financial revenues could exceed €30 million, or FCFA 20 billion over six years.
Gabon therefore has a crucial opportunity to promote the industrialization of the fisheries sector and the processing capacities of fish products, which is in line with the objectives of the Gabon Emergent 2025 Strategic Plan (PSGE 2025) and EU partnership policy.