Friday, July 17, 2015

17/07/2015: EU and Mauritania reach a new deal for sustainable management of fisheries

The European Union and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania have concluded a deal that will allow EU fishermen to fish in Mauritanian waters for four years.

EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: "Signing the EU's largest fisheries partnership agreement with Mauritania brings twofold benefits: To our fishermen, it means certainty and good fishing opportunities at value for money for the next four years. For the region as a whole, it contributes to stability and the sustainable management of fisheries resources".

This new protocol confirms several decades of cooperation in the field of fisheries, a key sector for the development of Mauritania and one of the pillars of the European strategy for blue growth.
Coast at Nouakchott, Mauritania (Image: neiljs)
Under this protocol, the EU fleet will be allowed to fish in Mauritanian waters for shrimp, demersal fish, tuna and small pelagic fish, up to a total of 281,500 tonnes a year, under improved operational conditions. In addition to catches paid for by the European fleet, the EU will dedicate €59.125 million per year to the partnership, of which €4.125 million will be used to support local fishing communities in Mauritania.

In line with the EU's fisheries policy, the protocol contributes to responsible fishing and the sustainable management of fisheries resources, including enhanced transparency measures. It seeks to minimise fishing impacts on marine ecosystems and respects the activities of the Mauritanian coastal and artisanal fleets.

With this new protocol, Mauritania and the European Union reaffirm their commitment to create wealth and job opportunities, in line with the new national strategy for fisheries adopted by Mauritania.

Background: What are SFPAs?
As part of the EU's international fisheries activities, the European Commission negotiates and concludes sustainable fisheries partnership agreements (SFPAs) with non-EU, mainly southern countries. The agreements give EU vessels access to third countries’ fishing waters. In return, the EU supports measures on resource conservation, environmental sustainability, and activities that contribute to the sustainable development of local fishing sectors, for instance by tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. SFPAs also contain a clause concerning respect for human rights.

There are currently 13 SFPAs in place:

  • 10 tuna agreements, with Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, São Tomé and Principe, Gabon, Madagascar, Senegal, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius and Kiribati.
  • 3 multi-species agreements, with Morocco, Greenland and Guinea-Bissau
The EU has a long-standing fisheries connection with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Since 1987, several successive agreements have given EU fishing vessels access to Mauritanian fishing zones. The current SFPA between the EU and Mauritania entered into force in December 2006. Its third implementing protocol expired in December 2014, leading to an interruption of EU fishing activities.

Visit the European Commission's fisheries page HERE.

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