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MEP Gabriel Mato considers the pact is very expensive for the EU. (Photo: Parlamento Europeo)

EP postpones casting vote on fisheries agreement with Mauritania

Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 23:30 (GMT + 9)

The Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament (EP) for the second time decided to delay their vote casting on the fisheries agreement between the European Union (EU) and Mauritania.

The fisheries sector rejects the agreement because it believes that the technical conditions are detrimental to EU vessels fishing in the Mauritanian fishing ground.

According to Gabriel Mato, EP committee chairman and rapporteur of the postponed report, the vote for or against the text will be cast on 23 April, once the new scientific reports on the situation of cephalopods have been received, the agency Europa Press reported.

Sector members also disagree on the fact that the pact does not consider the cephalopods.

According to the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, octopus stocks are not in good condition but fishermen deny that claim and requested new scientific reports.

In Mato's report the European Parliament is requested to reject the deal because the current conditions are harmful and to urge the Executive to negotiate a new fisheries regime.

For the MEP, the pending pact is "very expensive for the fishing opportunities offered," since it increases the cost to the fleet "between 300 per cent and 400 per cent in some cases."

"Whoever would like to go fishing should do so, and those who don’t want to, shouldn’t do so. It does not have much importance. My position has always been that there should be an agreement with Mauritania. If there is progress in some aspects, maybe the vote can change," added Mato.

With the postponement of the vote casting "we are not delaying anything," clarified the MEP, EFE agency reports.

Last month, the Mauritanian government and Brussels pledged to review some elements of the bilateral agreement and to order new scientific reports on the status of some affected species.

Meanwhile, MEP Antolín Sánchez Presedo recalled that the agreement affects nine catch categories among which there are four -- crustaceans, black hake, demersal species and cephalopods --"on which we do not know how the presented problems will be solved."

Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama) of Spain decided to extend the aids the agents and ship owners had been receiving since 1 August, 2012 for the temporary cessation of the fleet fishing in the fishing grounds of Mauritania.

Under the new order of call published on the Official Gazette (BOE), the extension of the aids will be delayed until 31 July.

These aids are granted given the inability to fish in these waters, due to the reduction in fishing opportunities set by the agreement between EU and Mauritania.

The aids will be granted for a further period of six months of temporary cessation from 1 February to 31 July, 2013, both dates inclusively.

Related article:

- Aids for fleet stop in Mauritanian waters extended

By Analia Murias


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