EU inks new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement

Published on
July 10, 2015

Negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania bore fruit this week when both parties arrived at a deal that would permit EU fishers to fish in Mauritanian waters for shrimp, demersal fish, tuna and small pelagic species for up to four years.

The agreement is the largest fisheries partnership between the EU and Mauritania, noted Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

"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," said Vella.

By way of the measure, EU fleets will be able to fish for up to a total of 281-500 metric tons per year from Mauritania’s water bodies. Alongside payment for catches, the EU will also contribute EUR 59.12 (USD 65.91) million annually to the partnership; of that amount, EUR 4.12 (USD 4.59) will be used to aide local fishing communities in Mauritania.

The EU has partaken in similar sustainable fisheries partnership agreements (SFPAs) with several other non-EU countries, including the following:

  • Ten tuna agreements, with Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, São Tomé and Principe, Gabon, Madagascar, Senegal, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius and Kiribati.
  • Three multi-species agreements, with Morocco, Greenland and Guinea-Bissau.

The relationship between Mauritania and the EU has been longstanding – protocols have been put into place since 1987 allowing the EU access to Mauritania waters for fishing. The protocol prior to the one being currently implemented expired in December 2014, leading to an interruption of EU fishing activities for a spell, noted the European Commission.

"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," said the European Union in a release. 

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