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.