The European Parliament yesterday gave the green light to a new fisheries agreement with Mauritania, which will strengthen environmental, economic, social and scientific cooperation with the African country and will benefit Spanish fishermen from Galicia, Andalusia, the Basque Country and the Canary Islands.
With 557 votes in favor, 34 against and 31 abstentions, the MEPs backed what is the largest fisheries agreement signed by the EU with a third country, according to a press release from the European Parliament office in Madrid. The first fisheries agreement between the EU and Mauritania was approved in 1987. The new treaty is provisionally applied from November 2021 and is scheduled to end in November 2027.
The treaty, which will run for six years, will allow vessels from Spain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal to fish for tuna, small pelagics, crustaceans and demersal fish. Mauritania will receive 57.5 million euros per year in exchange for up to 290,000 tons of fish. A further 3.3 million euros per year will go to support the local fishing community.
In the attached resolution, MEPs welcome Mauritania’s commitment to make public all its fisheries agreements with third countries. The European Parliament also urges Mauritania to put an end to overfishing of small pelagics, which has negative consequences for local food security and causes water pollution. MEPs also support the in-kind contribution of the EU fleet to local communities and call on the Mauritanian authorities to ensure that these contributions reach the population.
“The renewal of the fisheries agreement with Mauritania is good news for sound management of maritime resources and for the fisheries sector,” said the rapporteur, Spanish MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (PNV and Renew parliamentary group), after the vote. “It shows that the European sector is willing to operate worldwide with practices that are sustainable for the environment, fair for the people who live from the sea and that help the development of the local economy,” she added.