Relations between coastal countries and fishing fleets from non-adjacent countries changed radically in the 1970s and early 1980s. This was primarily a consequence of the declaration of exclusive economic zones (EEZs) by many coastal states in the years leading up to the close of the negotiations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982. Most significantly, by recognizing the right of coastal states to determine how their waters were to be exploited, the UNCLOS provided a legal basis and economic motivation for the negotiation of access agreements between coastal states and distant water fishing fleets. This paper examines some of the economic issues which arise out of such agreements, particularly as they relate to relations between relatively poor coastal states and fishing fleets from richer non-adjacent countries. Using Senegal-EU agreements as a case study it examines the economics of the agreements from the perspective of the coastal country. Factors related to the characteristics of the distant water fleet (ie, relative discard rates, fleet infractions, changes in fleet efficiency, and the mobility of the fleet) and the characteristics of the coastal country (ie, public debt and discount rates, capital constraints, access to overseas markets, and national political considerations) are examined in order to cast light on the incentives for signing the agreements.