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Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, José Manuel García-Margallo. (Photo Credit: Communication and Foreign Office of Spain)

Mauritania intends to boost fisheries agreement with the EU

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 23:40 (GMT + 9)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, José Manuel García-Margallo, met with the president of Mauritania to assess bilateral relations in the framework of negotiations of the new fisheries agreement between the African country and the European Union (EU).

The president of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz, also said he will contribute for the Spanish fishing companies to be able to settle in his country in order to obtain jobs and other benefits, such as the participation in fisheries exports.

The Spanish fleet has a critical view as to the fisheries agreement that Mauritania negotiated with the EU, since it is believed that it restricts the fishing opportunities of its fleet in African waters.

García Margallo explained that currently there is a protocol approved of by the European Commission (EC), which is being provisionally applied, being studied by the European Parliament.

Under the current agreement, established by the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, the permits for the EU fleet allows it to catch several groundfish species, such as shrimp, tuna and pelagic fish.

Shellfish boats can operate, but not the cephalopod vessels, arguing that these resources are scarce while the Spanish sector insists that "there is a surplus of octopus."

Given these claims, the EU Fisheries Commissioner pledged to review those aspects of the agreement, within the framework of the EU-Mauritania Joint Committee held in Paris last week.

In this regard, it was agreed that a joint scientific and technical committee will study the possibilities offered by the fisheing grounds in terms of the exploitation of cephalopods, which is especially concerning for the Galician fleet, and for that of seafood, affecting the interests of Andalusian vessels.

After meeting with Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz at the presidential palace in Nouakchott, accompanied by the Mauritanian Foreign Minister Hamadi Ould Hamadi, the Spanish foreign minister assured that both governments are "more than willing to solve the problems," EFE reported.

In addition, García Margallo stated that the Mauritanian government was satisfied about the Spanish cooperation for the development of its country. The support of Spain in the fight against illegal immigration was also acknowledged.

Related articles:

- Spain pushes for the return of cephalopod fleet to Mauritania
- Spain rejects fisheries agreement between EU and Mauritania

By Silvina Corniola



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