Skip to main content
Oceans and fisheries

On 17 December 2021, the EU and the Cook Islands signed a new implementing protocol to the sustainable fisheries partnership agreement (SFPA) setting out the fishing opportunities for EU vessels, the financial compensation to be paid by the EU and the modalities of sectoral support to the fishing sector of the Cook Islands. 

The three-year protocol, is applicable for the period 17 December 2021 – 16 December 2024. It allows a maximum of four EU purse seiners to fish for tuna and other highly migratory species in the Cook Islands' fishing zone for 100 days per year with the possibility to add up to 110 days per year. In exchange, the EU will pay the Cook Islands an annual compensation of €350,000 for access, as well as €350,000 per year to support the fisheries policy of the Cook Islands including to reinforce its fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance capacity. Taking into account the contributions from ship-owners, the Cook Islands is receiving an estimated total of €6.5 million for the duration of the protocol.

The fishing opportunities are based on the best available scientific advice, and in line with the conservation and management measures of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). The protocol outlines the obligations of EU vessels in terms of catch recording and provides for the monitoring, control and surveillance of the activities of the EU fleet, in line with Cook Islands national legislation and the parties' obligations at the regional level. The parties will implement a daily electronic recording and reporting.

Member States with an interest in the new SFPA are Spain and France.

The agreement was being applied provisionally since the date of its signature on 14 October 2016 and entered into force on 10 May 2017.

Main features of the SFPA

Duration of the protocol

3 years

Nature of the SFPA  

Tuna fishery agreement

Financial contribution

€700,000 per year out of which €350,000 to support the fisheries sector

Fee for ship owners

A fishing authorisation shall be issued once the following amounts, per EU vessel, have been paid to the Cook Islands

(a) an annual advance payment fee of €112,500 which shall give the right to the fishing vessel to fish for 25 days in the Cook Islands' fishing areas

(b) a special annual contribution for fishing authorisation of €38,500.

If available, shipowners may purchase fishing days additional to those purchased under point (a) upon request by the EU competent authority to the Cook Islands' authorities. The price to be paid by the shipowners for the additional days is €8,000 per day.

Fishing possibilities
 SPAINFRANCETOTAL VESSELS
Tuna seiners314

Documents

Current legal framework

Allocation of fishing opportunities, adopted by Council Regulation (EU) 2021/2317 of 11.11.2021 (OJ L 462, 28.12.2021, p. 10–11)

Signing and provisional application of the protocol on the implementation of the sustainable fisheries partnership agreement adopted by Council Decision (EU) 2021/2277 of 11.11.2021 (OJ L 463, 28.12.2021, p. 1–2)

Signing and provisional application of the sustainable fisheries partnership agreement and the implementation protocol adopted by Council Decision (EU) 2016/776 of 29.4.2016  (OJ L 131, 20.5.2016, p. 1)

Allocation of fishing opportunities, adopted by Council Regulation (EU) 2021/2317 of 11.11.2021 (OJ L 462, 28.12.2021, p. 10–11)

Allocation of fishing opportunities, adopted by Council Regulation (EU) 2016/777 of 29.4.2016 (OJ L 131, 20.5.2016, p. 39)

Sustainable fisheries partnership agreement and the implementation protocol thereto (OJ L 131, 20.5.2016, p. 3)