EU- Mauritania on an extension to the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities

EU- Mauritania on an extension to the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities

The annual financial contribution has been set at EUR 61 625 000 for a maximum period of one year for the purposes of the extension, on the basis of:

a) an amount of EUR 57 500 000 per year for access to fishery resources for the categories provided for in the Protocol;

b) support for the development of Mauritania’s sectoral fisheries policy amounting to EUR 4 125 000 per year, to help it meet the objectives of its national policy on the sustainable management of continental and marine fisheries resources.

The fisheries agreement with Mauritania is supposedly the most important of the EU’s current fisheries agreements with third countries. The first agreement was signed more than 30 years ago, and it currently permits a maximum of 58 vessels, from Spain, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, to fish.

In light of this, on 23 September, Slovakian Member of the European (MEP) Parliament Milan Uhrik of the Non-attached Members sent a parliamentary question to the European Commission. MEP Uhrik enquired “does the EU have data documenting the financial value of the marine species harvested by European vessels in the Mauritanian area based on the above agreement?” and “if so, what was the value (in EUR) of the marine species harvested by European vessels in 2019?”

On 23 November 2020, Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, responsible for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, responded to this question on behalf of the European Commission. He reported that “findings of the independent evaluation of the Protocol to the EU/Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement carried out in 2019, show that since the beginning of the Protocol until 2018 the Protocol generated EUR 1.45 of value added for the EU for each EUR 1 spent by the EU, as well as approximately 342 direct, and almost 900 indirect jobs”. He added that “this conclusion of the evaluators was based, inter alia, on annual catch figures ranging from 154 842 tonnes in 2016 to 160 609 tonnes in 2018, including all categories for which fishing possibilities are granted through the Protocol”.

For 2019, Commissioner Sinkevicius reported that “the cumulative catch figure collected by Member States for fishing vessels operating under the current protocol is 131 642 tonnes” and “an average utilisation of the quotas allocated to the EU fleet is therefore confirmed by most recent data”. He further stated “it is worth noting that the utilisation of the quotas allocated to the EU fleet is heterogeneous when considering the different categories: the small pelagic category is currently the most affected by underutilisation of the available total allowable catches (TAC) in the current protocol (uptake of about 62% of available quota)” and that “ongoing negotiations aim inter alia at tackling this issue, notably to further increase value for money of the EU financial compensation of the future Protocol”.

Photo Credit : https://www.istockphoto.com/fr/vectoriel/lunion-europ%C3%A9enne-ou-lue-et-la-mauritanie-drapeau-national-du-textile-symbole-gm1226874787-361623239

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