According to the agreement found, Mauritania accepted EU fishing activities for a period of 24 months as part of the bilateral Fisheries Protocol, hence the shrimps and small pelagics fisheries which started in January 2013 can continue, whereas those EU vessels which had been fishing tuna and demersals since August 2012 during a transitional period will need to leave Mauritanian waters today. Furthermore, the EU and Mauritania agreed to continue the discussions for a renewed Fisheries Protocol so as to allow the full EU fleet to resume their activities soon.
The current Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Mauritania allows EU fishing vessels to operate in Mauritanian waters, in return for financial assistance by the EU to develop the Mauritanian fisheries sector. To renew and improve this protocol, the EU and Mauritania have held three rounds of negotiations since early May 2014. The latest round took place on 29-30 July in order to bridge the differences between both sides.
Ahead of this week's talks, the EU and Mauritania had developed diverging interpretations on the expiration date of the current Protocol. Whereas the text of the Protocol clearly indicates that it expires on 15 December this year, Mauritania considered that the EU fleet has to leave Mauritanian waters from 1st August. According to the compromise found, all EU fleets would be given the opportunity to fish during 24 months starting from the first period of authorisation granted to the corresponding fleet segment: 2012 for demersal (black hake and other demersals) and tuna fleets (purse seiners, longliners and pole-and-line) and 2013 for shrimp and small pelagic fleets. As a consequence, demersal and tuna fleets will have to stop fishing from the 1st August 2014 while shrimps and small pelagic fleets will be given the opportunity to continue fishing until 15 December 2014.
The EU and Mauritania also agreed to meet in Brussels for a 4th round of negotiations for the updated Fisheries Protocol, which should be negotiated on the basis of the principles established in the reformed EU Common Fishery Policy: sustainability of fish stocks, better value for money in terms of access to Mauritanian waters, improved transparency and non-discrimination amongst the EU and other third countries' fleets.
For more information on the EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement: