The expiry of the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, which established the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution for the period between 1 August 2008 and 31 July 2012, has been the subject of a huge debate in the EU’s fishing industry. The agreement appears to be more a financial contribution than a genuine fisheries agreement intended to make fisheries resources, the EU fleet, employment and a better standard of living for the Mauritanian people more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
As regards the Galician fleet, the decision to exclude the cephalopod fishing fleet from the agreement did not take due account of the scientific data available. This is a very serious issue affecting many jobs that depended, until 31 July, upon fishing under this agreement and has produced a social and political reaction.
As regards the Dutch fleet, statements have already been made to the effect that economically in particular the new agreement will prove too burdensome for it to continue operating in Mauritanian fishing grounds.
Excluding the fleet or the fleet deciding by itself not to continue operating in Mauritanian waters could bring about a paradoxical situation in which only a tiny percentage of the fishing opportunities are actually taken up and the number of fishing vessels from the EU fleets fishing in Mauritanian waters does not reach the minimum number stipulated in the bilateral agreement. Should this occur, could the agreement be rejected and cancelled? Could new negotiations be opened, if utilisation of fishing opportunities by the EU fishing fleet does not reach the required level?