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As I have already stated on this blog (see “A new generation of Fisheries Partnership Agreements“), our efforts for ensuring sustainability make little sense if we don’t make sure that the same commitment is taken at international level and that EU vessels are subject to the same clear rules when they fish in international waters as when they fish at home. 

The case of Mauritania is topical: the first EU-Mauritania agreement was concluded in 1987 and is nowadays financially the most important, counting for almost half of the whole EU budget invested for Fisheries Partnership Agreements with third countries.

The agreement was to expire on 31 July, and just a few days before, after very long negotiations, we stroke a new deal, securing a framework that allows for EU fishing activities to continue in Mauritanian waters. This deal is sustainable, ethical and good value for money:

It is fully based on best scientific advice and ensures that the catching is strictly limited to the available surplus in all concerned fisheries, in order not to impact on local fishermen. Furthermore, this new protocol provides for increased job opportunities for Mauritanian seamen and foresees a special contribution in kind by the EU fishing fleet to meet nutritional needs of the local population.

In line with the principles devised under the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, there will be a very substantial increase of ship-owners’ fees and a clause has been included to suspend or terminate the agreement in case of human rights violations.

Under the agreement, EU vessels will continue to be subject to a number of obligations related to sustainability and transparency, which is not the case of other foreign fleet or fleets fishing under so called “private licences”. They will have to meet strong requirements in terms of reporting, conformity to conservation measures and control obligations, while a lot of examples around the world tend to show that fleets fishing in foreign waters -particularly in waters of developing countries- are not complying with similar obligations.

The Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Mauritania –as the others that are in place– is the instrument that the EU has at its disposal to favour sustainable fisheries abroad.


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  1. warp net site says:

    This means that Eastern Europe would not be left alone in the case of energy blackmail or crisis and that the EU as a political body would be obliged to support those countries even at the cost of aggravating relations with Moscow.

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  2. Carlos says:

    I am a Spanish citizen, resident in a seaside town called Marin. Traditionally it has always been seafaring people, but never develop a modern fishing industry. All your fishing is based on water extraction based foreign fishing vessels to send almost all the seas of the planet, or at least there where boasts a good bank fishing. So my hope is that once and for all, the EU makes a fisheries development entirely in my home, called Marin, for the fishing industry, such as aquaculture, which you defend with much fervor, a reality in the short term. I understand that the decommissioning of fishing vessels including Spanish and Galician mean a blow to local economies, but I understand that there has to somehow dramatically since we, since joining the EU, developing policies erratic shipbreaking, in the end, no such scrapping, but a change of home port of these vessels, and its ports preferably destinations in Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Ireland among others.
    I understand that we have to eradicate that idea so ingrained in my land, that fish in other seas fishing is the only future, leaving the rich underdeveloped Galician coast. You possibly never been or know the history of my people, but poverty and underdevelopment is what has prevailed in the last two centuries. The sea, as known from here, to the office of fishing in distant waters, was always work to people with little education, secularizing our land between who sacrificed his life on the sea for their employers or owners, lived a life very accommodated on land, both for themselves and their families. It is for this reason that Mrs Damanaki, will support their efforts to stop this land be, once and for all, a land of emigration and become an area of industrial exploitation of fisheries, but here, without going to steal fish to countries today need more development and if they have it in their waters. Thank you very much for your time.

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    • Maria Damanaki says:

      Thank you for your comment.
      I am aware of the situation in Galicia, which I had the pleasure of visiting a few times during my mandate.
      Areas such as Galicia, where the sea is vital for the economy, the region and the social fabric itself, need to find their stimulus for growth in the sea; and our goal is to help them do so. In fact, this is exactly what our recent Communication on Blue Growth aims at. Sustainability means respect for the environment so that our seas can provide a viable and profitable source of wealth. Fisheries will definitely remain paramount activities for areas like Galicia, and I believe that these areas will manage to overcome long term marginalisation thanks to sustainable development of the EU fishing sector, which is the Common Fisheries Policy reform‘s objective.
      Your reference to aquaculture, which is a key element of our fisheries reform package, is accurate as it is a way to lower the pressure on maritime environments and contribute to the social and economic development of these areas.
      At the European conference on the future of Aquaculture in Salzburg, we already discussed how to move the different segments of European aquaculture forward, and we will continue addressing this issue at a conference in Galicia at the end of November.

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  3. Luis says:

    Estimada sra. Damanaki, soy un ciudadano español originario de la localidad de Marín-Pontevedra, preocupado por el futuro de la flota cefalopodera que faena en aguas Mauritanas y que afecta de manera sustancial a mi pueblo, que posee una de las flotas más importantes especializadas en este producto. En virtud del acuerdo firmado por la UE con Mauritania, los barcos cefalopoderos deberán abandonar los caladeros en esas aguas, en las que tradicionalmente y desde hace muchos años pescan. Desde la Comisión y en concreto desde su Comisaría se han argumentado razones de economía sostenible, éticas y de buena relación calidad-precio para la firma de este acuerdo. No me cabe duda de que esto es así pero permítame que le pregunte sobre qué informes científicos y de qué fechas son -si realmente existen-, se ha basado la Comisión para acordar con Mauritania ese recorte tan drástico de  la captura de cefalópodos en las aguas de ese país. La desaparición de los barcos españoles, italianos, griegos y portugueses especializados en la pesca de cefalópodos puede dar pie a que otros países, como China, acuerden bilateralmente con Mauritania la captura de esta especie dejando así a numeros pescadores y auxiliares de pesca europeos abandonados a su suerte. Concretamente en mi pueblo, Marín, esto afectaría a unos 400 marineros y a unas 1.500 personas que trabajan en tierra.
    Muchas gracias.

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Last update: 01/11/2014 | Top