Impact of Trade-Linked Policies on the Management of Fisheries in West Africa Public Deposited

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  • The paper presents the impact of trade-linked policies on the management of fisheries in West Africa. It raises issues of national policies regarding fishery development but also the consequences of the ACP-EU cooperation and WTO stakes. Exploited throughout the marine and estuarian zones of West Africa, halieutic resources, in the past twenty years, have become an essential element in the economic growth and development of several States, classed among the Less Developed Countries (LDC’s). In this manner, the Cape Verde Islands, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal – all members of the Sub-Regional Fishing Commission (CSRP) – have, to some extent, succeeded, thanks to revenues derived from halieutic exploitation, in palliating a constant decline in agricultural income accompanied by weak, unstable growth characterized by increasing structural indebtedness. Fishing, with a total turnover, for all these countries put together, of over 900 million USD (in 2004), has not only permitted the public authorities to balance their trading accounts, but has also made considerable contributions to employment, in the sectors of both capture (with a total of 200,000 fishermen) and post harvest (unloading – processing – fish trade – marketing). The shift of commercial and public interests towards the fishery sector has nevertheless encouraged the emergence of situations impossible to control: the increasing numbers of fishermen from the small-scale sub-sector, aggravating an already critical fishing effort accompanied by the undesirable side-effects of fishing agreements. The combination of these factors is contributing to an over-exploitation of resources and constituting a biological threat to certain species (particularly, coastal dermersal species), which, in a kind of chain reaction, is now jeopardising whole sectors of the halieutic economy of these countries. These phenomena are, in part, linked to the strong extraversion of the national halieutic economies, encouraging gross, massive exportation of raw materials. Apart from the specific constraints proper to each State, they illustrates the two-fold lack of commercial policies implemented on a sub-regional level within the fishing sector: 1) insufficient consideration given to environmental and social parameters where the preservation of a sustainable halieutic economy is concerned; and 2) commercial strategies tending to discourage the development of fishing production. The international context stands in increasing need of the definition of common, harmonized policies in relation to the fishing sector. Despite sectoral dependence vis-a-vis the European market, the commercial preferences and advantages benefiting the member countries of the CSRP under the terms of the EU-ACP agreements are doomed as a result of WTO regulations and the objectives of liberalisation. Similarly, the multiple impacts, constraints and defects of commercial policies relating to the fishing sector in each of the countries, justify the definition of convergent public strategies on several different levels (common management of certain stocks – common access policies – regional fishing quotas – harmonisation of the regulatory mechanisms relating to exploitation – standards relating to the components and characteristics of fishing equipment).
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  • Failler, Pierre. 2006. Impact of Trade-Linked Policies on the Management of Fisheries in West Africa. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 11-14, 2006, Portsmouth, UK: Rebuilding Fisheries in an Uncertain Environment. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2006. CD ROM. ISBN 0-9763432-3-1
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