Council Fisheries meeting. (Foto: The Council of the European Union)
Four countries support Spain against fisheries agreement with Mauritania
Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
Spain, Poland, Portugal, Lithuania and Latvia signed a letter sent to the Commissioner of Fisheries of the European Union (EU), Maria Damanaki, in which she was asked to work for changes in the bilateral fisheries agreement with Mauritania for it to meet both the demands of the community fishermen and those of the authorities of the African country.
These five nations claim that the European Commission (EC) should reopen the agreement and incorporate a number of technical conditions that benefit the Community fishing fleet further.
The petition was presented at the meeting of the Council of EU Fisheries Ministers in Brussels.
Meanwhile, UK delegates stressed that any fishing agreement must include several viable fishing conditions, and the representatives from Holland acknowledged that the agreement can cause problems.
European sources added that Greece reported that the protocol is "not balanced," EFE agency reports.
France and Germany did not express their views at the Council as to the fisheries agreement between the EU and Mauritania.
The letter explains that the terms of the protocol "are widely rejected by the vast majority of the European fishing industry directly involved."
"A proof of the shortcomings of the protocol is that only a small non-representative quota of the involved fleet has requested to fish in Mauritanian waters under the new conditions," it is added.
In this regard, the head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), Miguel Arias Cañete, was pleased after finding that "the delegations of all the countries affected by the agreement have followed the same line as Spain."
The Spanish minister highlighted the exclusion of the cephalopod fleet and the strong restrictions imposed on the shellfish fleet, although the scientific information shows that there are resources that can be captured in a sustainable manner in the Mauritanian fishing ground.
Damanaki expressed her willingness to "find solutions" to the concerns of some Member States about the bilateral agreement.
Regarding the cephalopod vessels, the commissioner insisted the pact signed last July "was the best protocol possible under the circumstances." She noted that the likely changes in the agreement will be addressed first at a workgroup and then at the Council.
Anyway, she warned that "there are still a lot of decisions ahead" and "it is early time to reject anything."
Ultimately, the Member States themselves will be in charge of making decisions on the agreement.
The deal affects about 60 vessels, of which around 25 boats are based in Andalusia and others in Galicia.
The new agreement also authorizes an increase in the price of the licenses (between 270 per cent and 440 per cent) and requires vessels to pay a EUR 620 fee per tonne of fish caught.
- EC is asked to reconsider agreement with Mauritania
By Analia Murias