EU-Mauritania fisheries partnership: strong yes from fisheries MEPs 

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  • EU-Mauritania fisheries agreement for another six years  
  • around EUR 60 million EU support to Mauritania each year 
  • more transparency to make EU’s fleet fishing conditions equal to other fleets 

Fisheries MEPs support an upgrade of the EU’s fisheries agreement with Mauritania, welcome more transparency and ask Mauritania to stop overfishing some small pelagic stocks.

    MEPs on the Fisheries Committee gave a green light to a new 6-year EU - Mauritania fisheries partnership agreement with 24 votes to 2 and 1 abstention on Wednesday. They welcome that it strengthens environmental, economic, social and scientific cooperation and helps to enhance sustainable fisheries, contribute to improved ocean governance and combat illegal fishing in Mauritania. 

    The agreement unlocks an access by the European fleet to Mauritanian waters for the fishing of crustaceans, demersal fish, tuna and small pelagics, for a total of approximately 290.000 tonnes per year. In return and in addition to the catches paid by European fishermen, the EU will provide EUR 57,5 million annual support to Mauritania and another EUR 3,3 million each year in support of local fishing communities. 

    Limit fishmeal

    In an accompanying resolution, drafted by Parliament’s rapporteur Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (RENEW, ES) and adopted the same day (23 votes to 1, and 3 abstentions) fisheries MEPs call on Mauritania to stop overfishing of some small pelagic stocks, especially Sardinella, and their processing into fishmeal and fish oil. Fish should primarily be for human consumption and not a raw material for the food processing industry, which increases waste-water pollution and jeopardises food security of local populations, they stress. 

    MEPs on Fisheries committee also encourage fishing fleet to continue distributing fish to people in need, by reserving 2% of their pelagic catches transhipped or landed at the end of a trip for the "Société nationale de distribution de poisson". 

    More transparency

    Fisheries MEPs are pleased to see that new agreement requires Mauritania to make all agreements with foreign fleets public and gives EU fleet the same conditions for access to Mauritania resources and technical conditions for fishing as all other fleets. They call on Mauritania to follow-up on this commitment to provide full information to the European Commission on all vessels fishing in its waters and make detailed reports publicly available.

    Next steps

    The Parliament is expected to endorse the agreement in a final vote in June plenary session. The new agreement and its protocol is provisionally applied as of November 2021.

    Background

    EU-Mauritania fisheries partnership represents one of the key fisheries agreements for the EU with a long previous history. The first agreement was signed more than 30 years ago and it currently provides fishing opportunities for vessels from 10 EU countries.