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Fisheries Agreement Prioritises Sustainability

MAURITANIA - Ahead of negotiations on the renewal of one of the most important of EU fisheries agreements, Parliament's main concern is to balance economic benefits with conservation of resources. Members of European parliament (MEPs) are stressing the vital importance of sustainability, better coordination of EU funds and aid for infrastructure development in Mauritania to boost the local economy.

Concerned about over exploitation of certain stocks, such as octopus, MEPs call on the Commission to discuss with Mauritania the development of long-term fisheries management plans that would include the allocation of catches to Mauritania's national fleets and to third country vessels, including those flying the EU flag. Sustainable development of local fisheries shall also be supported financially, with money being granted in particular for research, control or infrastructure.

EU vessels should fish only surplus stock and exploit solely those resources Mauritanian fishermen are unable to harvest themselves, according to the resolution, which was tabled by several political groups and adopted by show of hands.

Monitoring practices and deal on technical measures

The Commission is urged to clarify the control measures the Mauritanian authorities will apply to EU vessels, which are all equipped with vessel monitoring systems (VMS). Reliance on approximate visual estimation of the distance should be prohibited as unreliable and use of any alternative solution than VMS must be mutually agreed in advance, says the resolution.

Support for infrastructural development

The EU should support further development of Mauritanian infrastructure, according to MEPs. Artisanal and coastal fisheries would benefit from construction of adequate landing facilities along Mauritania's central and southern coastline while modernisation of the existing port in Nouadibou would allow the EU fleet to function better, attract foreign investment and boost the local economy.

The current agreement, due to expire on 1 August 2012, applies to vessels from France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Negotiations on the new accord are scheduled to start in June this year. Once finalised, the agreement will need Parliament's approval to come into force.

the Fish Site Editor

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