In a world where fisheries resources are increasingly in demand and where marine habitats are threatened by climate change and human activity, both the European Union (EU) and the coastal states of third countries participating in sustainable fisheries partnership agreements (SPS) must take responsibility for sustainable fishing. These include supporting the development of coastal and fishing communities in third countries and protecting sensitive species, such as seabirds, from the effects of fishing. The first fisheries agreement between the EC and Morocco was signed in 1988. The four-year contract provided for 800 annual licences for Spanish and Portuguese trawlers and did not include any restrictions on quantities or species. In exchange, Morocco received 282 million euros. The protocols of the fisheries partnership agreement initially covered short terms of two to three years and are now negotiated for four or five years. The renewal process is more or less fluid depending on the nature of the agreement. Tuna negotiations between Africa and the EU generally conclude quickly, as all tuna (and most other highly marketable species) arrive in export-oriented markets or are caught by foreign fleets. Mixed species agreements are the subject of the most heated discussions, as technologically advanced EU vessels compete with partner country fleets, particularly small small-scale fishing vessels (Figure 2) to cope with increasingly scarce fish stocks. In West Africa, for example, scarcity has reduced the catchment of major fish species and catches of crustaceans and cephalopods decreased by 25% between 1997 and 2006 to 40% (Figure 3) Fisheries cooperation agreements with sub-Saharan Africa`s sub-Saharan African coastal states are considered by the European Union to be purely trade agreements aimed at maximising access to coastal states` resources. , job security for the European harvesting and processing industry and supplying European markets for the consumption of seafood at the lowest possible cost. The EU is the world`s largest domestic fishing market and a net importer of fish and fish products. These products can enter the EU market with zero or reduced tariffs from countries with which free trade agreements have been concluded by the EU or from developing countries benefiting from the EU`s System of Generalised Preferences (GSP).
Fishing agreements between the European Union (EU) and third countries have often proved controversial. This article examines the origin and importance of key agreements for all parties. Since their revision in 2004, such agreements have failed to achieve their stated objective of improving the management of fisheries resources – they have indeed contributed to the degradation of fisheries. We will study the impact of agreements in States Parties and show the gap between stated intentions and actual results. The agreement was attacked because it had not fixed Morocco`s southern border within its geographical scope. Opponents of the agreements feared that Morocco would issue licences for European vessels to fish in the waters of Western Sahara, the former Spanish colony invaded by Morocco in 1975.  The EU budget for fisheries agreements has increased from EUR 5 million in 1981 to EUR 163 million in 1990 to EUR 300 million in 1997, before increasing to around EUR 200 million in 2009. Fishing fees for shipowners account for an average of 20% of the agreement revenues for third countries, a percentage that is expected to increase in the future. Around 700 EU vessels have temporary or permanent licences for the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the signatory partner countries. An additional 1,700 vessels are deployed under reciprocal „north“ agreements for the North Sea and North Atlantic, out of a total of 80,000 EU vessels (EU 2008). EU tuna fishers have annual catches of around 400,000 tonnes, of which almost 80% (320,000 tonnes) are caught in waters adjacent to partner countries` EEZs.