Spanish tuna vessel. (Photo: madrimasd.org)
Fisheries sector’s divided opinions on EU- Mauritania agreement rejection
Monday, September 30, 2013, 22:30 (GMT + 9)
Most members of the fishing industry -- tuna, longliner, hake and shellfish sectors -- reject the central government's decision to request the non-ratification of the fishing agreement signed between the European Union (EU) and Mauritania while the cephalopod industry has welcomed this position.
A big part of the sector does not understand the Spanish government’s viewpoint because its members believe that improvements were obtained during the latest Joint Committee meeting of EU-Mauritania. In contrast, the cephalopod fleet insists that the agreement is unfair, unhelpful and expensive.
The government's decision was announced last Thursday by the Secretary General of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), Carlos Dominguez.
The entities that expressed their rejection of that decision were the National Association of Frozen Tuna Vessels (Anabac), National Shellfish Association (Anamar), the Associate Producers of Big Tuna Freezers (Opagac), the Producers Organization of Longline Fisheries (Orpal) and the Provincial Association of Fisheries Longline Shipowners and other Fishing Gear in Pontevedra (Arpoan).
By contrast, the National Association of Cephalopod Producers (Anacef) was satisfied with the Spanish position.
After 13 months of inactivity, the companies linked to the shellfish fleet are facing serious problems. The shellfish firms recognize that it is not the best of the deals but they believe that if they reject it now, they will be "on the ropes," the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca) reported.
In fact, last Friday Anamar announced that 11 shellfish vessels requested licenses to start fishing in the Mauritanian fishing ground as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the tuna sector, represented by Anabac and Opagac stressed the importance of this fishery for tuna freezer fleet.
Besides, the associations of the surface longline sector of Oplugo and Arpoan also spoke in favour of the agreement although the latter opted to respect the decision taken by the majority, Cepesca pointed out.
And the bottom longline fleet, represented by Orpal, supported the ratification of the agreement for lacking alternatives.
On the other hand, the cephalopod sector, represented by Anacef, welcomed the Government's support for this fleet that was excluded without the European Commission (EC) being able to defend their fishing opportunities.
The fishing industry argues that there are scientific studies that are favourable and that the inalienable negotiation principles and criteria should be defended, since they will benefit future negotiations.
Anacef stressed that it has been deprived from the compensation share paid by the EU corresponding to the cephalopod mode in the various agreements since 1995, valued in at not less than EUR 25 million to use it for other vessels that do not often go to the fishing ground.
This organization considers it is unfair to support a fishing agreement which costs EUR 70 million and forces the scrapping of 32 community cephalopod vessels without an objective that justifies it. Therefore, it maintains its refusal to negotiate this agreement and claims the negotiation of a new one that is "fair, balanced and beneficial to all the parties."
Cepesca emphasizes that, beyond their different opinions, the associations have agreed on the fact that such a bad negotiation as this one should not be repeated and that in the next deals "the needs of all the segments of the fleet should be considered, choosing viable technical and economic conditions for all."
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By Analia Murias