Spanish fishermen repairing nets. (Photo: Magrama)
Mauritania and EU to analyze fishing agreement
Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
Authorities of the European Union (EU) and Mauritania will meet today and tomorrow in Paris, France, to discuss the bilateral fisheries agreement.
The current agreement provides 70 licenses to EU vessels, however, in practice it meant a tightening of requirements to access Mauritanian coasts.
Therefore, most European vessels left the African fishery waters and only 15 per cent are taking advantage of the fishing opportunities.
For a long time, this bilateral agreement was considered as the main document signed by the EU with a non-EU country, EFE reports.
According to statements by the head of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), Miguel Arias Cañete, this meeting was prompted by the Spanish central government.
The problem is that the agreement with Mauritania excludes the cephalopod fleet (octopus and squid) and increases the demands on the shellfish one, being the fleets of Andalusia, the Canary Islands and Galicia particularly affected.
For its part, the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca) held a meeting last week with the European Commission (EC) in Brussels to prepare for this meeting.
During the meeting, Cepesca asked the joint committee to help "fix" the pact with Mauritania.
The members of the Spanish fleet seek to improve the access for shellfish fishery, which would specially benefit Andalusian vessels. They also demand the inclusion of the cephalopod fleet.
In the case of tuna, it is expected a reduction of the economic demands by Mauritanian authorities.
Anyway, there is a problem to meet Spanish demands: the need for more scientific data to show that current stocks of octopus allow it to be captured by the European fleet in the Mauritanian fishing ground.
According to Arias Cañete, the latest assessments were implemented with old data and octopus stocks change very quickly.
Cepesca Secretary General, Javier Garat, and the president of the National Association of Shellfish Freezer Trawlers (Anamar), Angel Muriel, will participate in meetings in the Parisian capital, among other authorities.
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By Analia Murias