The reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) came into force on 1st January 2014 which now includes a component on the external dimension establishing a legal framework for EU fishing activities outside the European waters. The new generation of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) allows EU fleets to fish only surplus stocks in third countries’ Exclusive Economic Zones as defined by UNCLOS. The EU provides financial assistance to third countries through Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements in exchange for access rights conditional upon the partner country meeting set targets. But SFPAs are not limited to these elements; they also contribute essential financial support to boosting local fishing sectors, fishing governance, scientific research and the fight against IUU. The European fishing fleets shall respect at all times EU laws and principles in 3rd countries just as in community waters.

The new external dimension of the CFP has introduced the following principles :

• Development of scientific knowledge and advice
• Human rights clause concerning respect for democratic principles and human rights, which constitutes a crucial element of such agreements
• Promotion of sustainable fishing activities aimed at long-term resource conservation
• Support and promote actions to eradicate IUU-fishing
• Strengthen regional cooperation, good governance and sustainable development of partner countries’ fisheries sectors
• Enhance the role of RMFOs
• Financial assistance for sectoral support provided that the partner country achieve specific results (infrastructures, local development, social investment etc.)
• Joint management of stocks with 3rd countries fishing in that area
• Public ex-ante and ex-post evaluations of each protocol to a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement

SFPA infographic NEW V6 medium