14 Sep 2012

Kiribati permits Spain to continue fishing while EU agreement finalised

2:28 pm on 14 September 2012

Kiribati is allowing Spanish fishing vessels to continue operating in its waters while legislation relating to a fisheries agreement with the European Union is completed.

In June, the European Commission initialled a new protocol to its Fisheries Partnership Agreement, giving four purse seiners and six long liners from Spain, France and Portugal access to the Kiribati fishery.

In a statement, Spain's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment says the existing bilateral pact with Kiribati allows for four tuna purse seiners and three longliners from Spain to fish in its exclusive economic zone.

That covenant expires on Sunday so without provisional approval to continue fishing, Spanish vessels would have had to stop operating at that time.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement, to which Kiribati is one of eight signatories, is criticising the new protocol, saying it fails to take into account the agreement's established fisheries management requirements.