Spain achieves an agreement that would allow the recovery of the activity of the seafood fleet in Mauritania

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has participated in the meetings of the mixed commission and fourth round of negotiations for the renewal of the fisheries agreement between the European Union and Mauritania, which were held in Nouakchott, Mauritania from February 17 to 19 . An agreement benefits 65 Spanish vessels, mainly from Galicia, Andalusia, the Canary Islands and the Basque Country.

Spain's priorities in this negotiation are to improve the provisions of the protocol, to consolidate and make effective the fishing opportunities of the various modalities that benefit from this agreement, and allow the usual operation of the fleet.

Progress in the negotiation

Mauritania has accepted the Spanish proposal for an experimental shrimp campaign in the usual fishing zone of the Andalusian seafood fleet in the period 2008-2012 and that was closed in the last protocol, making it impossible to take advantage of fishing opportunities. A proposal based on the scientific reports of the FAO Central-Eastern Atlantic Fisheries Commission (CECAF), which show that shrimp stock is exploited well below its maximum sustainable yield in Mauritania.

The scientific campaign, which will be carried out by two Spanish shellfish vessels, will provide specific data on the fisheries of various crustaceans in this important fishing ground. Based on the results obtained, Spain would request the opening of this area in the next protocol, guaranteeing the compatibility of sustainable exploitation of this resource with local artisanal fleets and respect for the environment.

Likewise, Spain has achieved that the extension of the current protocol includes a clause that allows discharges into ports of third countries in case of repeated blockages in the Mauritanian-Moroccan border that affected the fresh fleets very negatively. The next protocol would allow the agile exit of the Mauritanian zone in any case of force majeure.

The fifth round of negotiations will take place in Brussels from March 16. Spain will continue to request improvements in the conditions for the different categories of the agreement, such as the use of by-catches and by-products, as well as reductions in fees for the fresh fleet affected by the 2019 blockades.

The current protocol is extended for one year until November 15 of this year, in anticipation of the negotiation process being extended a few months, given that it is the most important fisheries cooperation agreement, in terms of catches and financial contribution. , of the European Union.

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