Mauritania and the European Union (EU) have signed the fourth implementing protocol to the EU’s Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) in a deal described by both partners as a “win-win” agreement.
The implementation of the SFPA started in December 2006.
After 16 months of intense negotiations, Nouakchott’s chief negotiator Cheikh Ould Baya said apart from the economic gains and job opportunities that will be created, the agreement will also “make life easier in the countries of origin of illegal immigration” to Europe. According to official figures, the fishing sector employs more than 36,000 people and accounts for 20% of Mauritania’s revenues.
Under the new agreement, 60% of EU boat staffs fishing in Mauritanian waters would be locals and only local fishermen can fish for octopus and sardinella.
EU international affairs and markets director Stefaan Depypere was in Mauritania during the signing ceremony. He said the deal is beneficiary to the two parties as they both hail it as a“win-win” situation.
During the week, Javier Garat, secretary general of Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA), urged the EU to “learn from the mistakes of the previous negotiations” in order to reach a beneficial agreement compared to the last one which was unanimously opposed by “the entire fishing industry and the Member States of the EU.”
The latest agreement reduces EU’s annual payment to €100 million from 110 and the quota from 300,000 tons of fish to 225,000 per annum for the next 4 years.
For Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the agreement offers European fishermen “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.”