Trawlers blast EU-Mauritania fisheries deal
By SeafoodSource staff
31 July, 2012
The Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA) on Friday blasted the two-year fisheries agreement that the European Union has reached with Mauritania.
As part of the deal, the EU will pay the West African nation a total of EUR 70 million in exchange for fishing opportunities for shrimp, tuna and pelagic fish.
The PFA, which represents 10 European pelagic freezer-trawler operators, scoffed at the deal, calling it “worthless.”
“The deal the commission has just signed does not make any sense. There will be no winners, only losers,” said PFA President Gerard van Balsfoort.
The EU pelagic fleet does not get any commercially viable fishing opportunities and fisheries in the region will not become any more sustainable,” he explained. “As a consequence, African consumers will have less access to affordable fish as valuable protein, African and European seamen will lose their jobs and EU taxpayers will not get any value for nearly EUR 70 million euros a year. On top of that, pelagic fleet owners are being asked to pay a further EUR 37 million euro.
“The new protocol is imposing unrealistic conditions for pelagic fisheries, making the agreement worthless,” continued van Balsfoort. “It will lead to zero use of the pelagic part of the agreement. In essence, the commission intends to pay Mauritania millions for an empty shell.
“This agreement creates a lose-lose situation for all, except for non-transparent fisheries in West Africa. Driving regulated, transparent and responsible EU vessels out of Mauritanian waters is not the answer to the environmental and social sustainability challenge we all agree to tackle. This deal does not promote, but hinder food security, employment and environmental sustainability in the region. As a fishing deal this agreement does not wash. If it is, however, an aid package for Mauritania, then the EU needs to stand up and state this clearly, rather than masquerading it as a fishing deal.”
31 July, 2012