Minister Miguel Arias Cañete in the House of Representatives. (Photo: Magrama)
Spain rejects fisheries agreement between EU and Mauritania
Friday, September 07, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
The Spanish Government considers the fisheries agreement between the European Union (EU) and Mauritania is "really negative," since it "has not taken into account either the best available scientific advice or the views and interests of Spanish vessels, or of the rest of the Community fleet."
This was Spain’s view summarized by the head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), Miguel Arias Cañete, in an appearance before the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Environment of the House of Representatives.
"The European Commission (EC) has negotiated a fisheries agreement in which the EU would pay EUR 140 million over two years for not fishing in Mauritania, in addition to the EUR 60-70 million the EC intended the sector would pay," the minister added.
During the meeting, Arias Cañete requested the support of all the parliamentary groups and their representatives in the European Parliament (EP) "to work all in the same direction, in favour of the legitimate interests of the European and of the Spanish fleet."
For the Spanish government, the EC has directed the negotiation "with little diligence and skill, no transparency, and disregarding warnings of the industry and of Member States on the catastrophic effects of the negotiated terms on the viability of fishing," the Minister explained.
The EC "is terribly wrong when ignoring the interest of Member States by agreeing to pay USD 70 million per year to Mauritania for the 2012-2014 period. And what's even worse, the owners will raise their contribution up to EUR 30-35 million annually in exchange for minor or non-existent fishing opportunities," argued Arias Cañete.
Regarding the cephalopod fishing, the minister stated that "it has been possible to maintain an open door in the text of the new Protocol so that the Community vessels requesting licences can obtain them when the octopus stock recovers."
As to the shellfish fleet, the Government considers that the agreement also affected it, mainly because the change in the fishing area now locates it from six to eight miles offshore.
For experts of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), that would lead to a reduction in yields of between 40 per cent and 60 per cent.
Finally, Arias Cañete assured contacts with leading MEPs have been started so as to ensure that the Fisheries Committee of this institution issues an opinion as soon as possible evidencing their rejection of the current protocol, and urging the EC to renegotiate it.
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By Analia Murias