EP calls for improvements on Mauritania agreement

One good result in Strasbourg last week was the vote on the EU-Mauritania fisheries partnership agreement. All the major party groups agreed on the principles that the green group deem necessary in future fisheries agreements.

In a resolution approved on Thursday 12 May, the European parliament settled their conditions for a renewal of the Mauritania fisheries agreement, which will expire in 2012. Among the demands:

European ships shall only have access to Mauritanian waters if there is a scientifically documented surplus of fish which the Mauritanian fisheries sector cannot exploit.

Ship owners shall pay their own costs for fishing licenses, instead of letting the EU pay most of the costs.

Money for access to fishing waters must be separated from the financial support to research, controls and development of the local fisheries sector. The idea is that this financial support should not decrease even if there is a decrease in fishing opportunities, which is the case today.

The EU should be able to cancel the fisheries deal if the governing regime violates human rights.

These are just some of the 23 points in the resolution.

The Greens have made these demands for a long time and welcome that all the major political groups support these principles.

Last autumn, a delegation of MEPs from the Fisheries Committee travelled to Mauritania, where they could see how the competition from modern European vessels has had a negative effect on local fishermen.

This is the first time that the European Parliament has taken this kind of initiative in setting guidelines before the negotiation of a new fisheries agreement.

After the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty, the European Parliament participates in codecision on fisheries policy together with the Council of Ministers, where the Member States’ fisheries minister meet. With the fisheries partnership agreements, however, the procedure is slightly different: the Council approves the Commission’s mandate for negotiations and the Parliament can only approve or reject an agreement once it has been negociated.

With this Thursday’s vote, the Parliament sends a signal that they welcome a new agreement with Mauritania but that Parliament might vote no to a new agreement if these demands are not met.

Link: Read the resolution

Axel Naver

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