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EU Signs New Fisheries Agreement With Mauritania

by Ulrika Lomas, for, Brussels

26 July 2006

It emerged at the weekend that the European Commission and Mauritania have initialled a new fisheries partnership agreement to replace the current fisheries agreement due to end on 31 July 2006.

It is the most important fisheries agreement concluded by the EU with a third country, both in financial terms and as regards fishing opportunities for EU vessels.

The new agreement will be in place for 6 years. A protocol, for a period of two years, renewable twice, will provide fishing possibilities for about 200 EU vessels on crustaceans (mainly shrimps), hake and other demersal species (living near the sea floor), cepaholopods, small pelagics (living mid-water) and tuna.

Taking into account scientific assessments of the state of the stocks in Mauritanian waters, fishing efforts by EU vessels on sensitive species, such as cephalopods and some other demersal species, will be substantially reduced compared to the current agreement.

Stricter control of fishing efforts in Mauritanian waters will be applied, in particular for the small pelagic fisheries.

The EU financial contribution will amount to EUR86 million per year, as in the current agreement. The level of licence fees to be paid by shipowners operating under the agreement will be gradually increased, amounting approximately to EUR22 million per year.

The greater part of the EU financial contribution will be devoted to supporting the implementation of a responsible and sustainable fisheries policy by Mauritania in its waters.

The new agreement and protocol will be applicable from 1 August 2006, pending final adoption by the EU institutions.

Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg announced that:

“This agreement, the biggest with an African country, is a major breakthrough. The new partnership approach will be of mutual benefit to the EU and Mauritania in terms of jobs, strengthened monitoring and control, conservation of resources in compliance with scientific assessment and environmental protection.”

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