The European Union has renewed its 4-year deal with Mauritania on fisheries. Under the agreement, Nouakchott will allow more than 100 EU vessels into Mauritania’s territorial waters in return for EU’s development aid that will focus on the local fishing communities. The deal has already been embraced by the European Parliament and it is believed to increase opportunities for the Member States, which are already facing a burgeoning demand for fish and seafood. Since 2009, the block’s imports of fish stock for domestic consumption have gone up by 6 percent annually. In 2014, the EU imported fish worth €21 billion, which is four times more than the value of its meat imports.
The EU-Mauritania deal on fisheries is among the most significant agreements that Brussels has concluded with any African country. The agreement that dates back to 1987 belongs to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) under which EU vessels have access to third countries’ fishing waters. The renewed deal with Mauritania will go under the umbrella of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, which has committed the EU and its Member States to more sustainable fishing. The EU’s support for sustainable fisheries is in stark contrast to the overfishing of the African coast that was very common in the past.
Under the deal, the EU will be able to fish shrimp, tuna, demersal fish and pelagic fish – up to 281,500 tons each year. The wide range of stock covered is unique among other fishing deals, which are mostly centered on tuna. Brussels will pay for the catch and commit to contribute €59.125 million annually to the partnership as well as €4.125 million into supporting activities of the fishing communities in the West African country. Projects will cover environmental sustainability, job creation and tackle illegal and unregulated fishing.