Javier Garat, Europeche president. (Photo: StockFile)
Fisheries sector's position as to EU-Mauritania agreement
Thursday, May 30, 2013, 02:40 (GMT + 9)
On behalf of the European fisheries industry, Europeche wrote a letter to the President of the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament, Gabriel Mato, to express the sector's opinion on the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) between the EU and Mauritania.
The letter, signed by Europeche President, Javier Garat, was also sent to the Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, and to the members of the Fisheries Committee.
In the letter, Garat points out that despite the small modifications agreed between the European Commission and Mauritania, the fishing industry still views the FPA as unviable both technically and economically, as well as unprofitable for most of the categories involved. Therefore, the industry wishes to include some important changes and improvements in the agreement.
The sector intends that all fishing vessels and categories may be fully used and a very low utilisation rate of the protocol can be avoided under the protocol.
Specifically, he said, and as the industry has already noted to the European Commission, MEPs, member States and public opinion, it disagrees with the terms agreed for the shrimp, demersal-longliner, pelagic and cephalopod categories.
Regarding shrimp, the industry wishes to see the licence fees lowered at least to EUR 350 per ton or EUR 390 per ton per year, and the bycatch rate of cephalopods to get a hike of 15 per cent, plus the fishing zone needs to be modified.
"The new zone agreed by Mauritania during last Friday's meeting mocks our fishermen, who consider that it is completely insufficient," Garat wrote in the letter.
Regarding demersals caught by longliners, the industry wants the licence fees to be reduced to EUR 60 per ton and for fishing possibilities to grow.
For pelagics, the fishing industry claims that under present conditions fishery is only possible for part of the year, so that more effort is needed to change technical terms and increase the use of the agreement.
As far as cephalopods, Garat wrote, the fishing industry understands that Mauritania is unable to fish even 50 per cent of the potential stock caught by EU vessels in recent years at 60,000 tonnes. As the new management measures by the Spanish Oceanography Institute and the scientific protocol approved by the Joint Scientific Committee could double stock levels, what Mauritania has proposed is unrelated to the mentioned proposals.
"We would like to remind you that last July 2012 the EU cephalopods vessels caught more than 280 per cent of the best production since 1975. For this reason, we consider that all our cephalopod vessels should participate in the experimental campaign in July 2013," the letter reads.
Finally, Garat wrote that the EU industry also considers it vital that the European Commission see to the fact that Mauritania is fulfilling its duties regarding the protocol, particularly in the field of implementing the same rules for all fleets authorised to fish in its waters.
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By Natalia Real