Ian Hudghton (Greens/EFA). – Madam President, in the past fisheries agreements have seemed too often to be primarily a mechanism for exporting surplus fleet capacity from certain EU Member States. Also, in many cases, there was very little emphasis given to ensuring that local populations in third countries gained long-term benefit from the exploitation of their resources.
For those reasons and some others, I have most often in the past voted against such agreements in principle. However, one of the key improvements of the common fisheries policy was supposedly to place fisheries partnership agreements on a sounder ethical footing. They are now supposed to adhere to sustainability objectives. Nevertheless, each agreement has to be taken on its merits, and it is regrettable to say that the Guinea-Bissau Protocol is now founded on well out-of-date data, a situation that is avoidable and should have been avoided. I will be able to support the other two agreements but not the one with Guinea Bissau for that reason.