MEPs endorse the largest EU’s fisheries agreement with Mauritania

MEPs supported the largest EU-third country fisheries agreement with 557 votes to 34, and 31 abstentions. It will allow vessels from France and Germany to fish in Mauritanian waters for small pelagic fish, crustaceans, and tuna. Mauritania will be paid €57.5million per year in return for a maximum of 290,000 tonnes of fish. A further €3.3m per annum will be used for local fishing communities.

Making the agreements publicly

The accompanying resolution was adopted by 532 votes to 23 votes and 74 abstentions. It is a positive step to ensure that the EU fleet has equal access to the Mauritanian resources, as all other fleets.

Stopping overfishing

The European Parliament urges Mauritania not to overfish small pelagic stocks. This has negative effects on local food security as well as causing water pollution. MEPs point out that small pelagic fish are used to make fishmeal and oil for local consumption by the food processing industry, rather than being consumed locally. MEPs note that Mauritania had committed to gradually phase out fishmeal production by 2020. However, fishmeal factories have been expanding since 2010.

MEPs support the EU's fleet by making a kind contribution to local communities. EU fishers are encouraged not to stop distributing 2% from their pelagic catches to those in need by landing it at the National Fish Distribution Company. The European Parliament asks the Mauritanian authorities for their assistance to ensure citizens receive the contributions.

After the vote, European Parliament rapporteur Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, RENEW, ES said: "The renewal agreement for fisheries with Mauritania will be a good thing for the management of maritime resources as well as for the sector of fisheries. It is the most significant agreement currently in force. It allows 86 European vessels to harvest surplus fish stocks, subject to strict control and transparency. It demonstrates that the European sector is open to international cooperation with sustainable practices, fair for local people and sustainable for the environment. This agreement also includes a commitment to empower Mauritanian women, and to strengthen their participation in the value chain. It emphasizes the need to address the unsustainable growth of the country's fishmeal production and fish oil for aquaculture farms across Asia.


The EU and Mauritania signed the first fisheries accord in 1987. The new agreement is currently in effect and will continue to be in force until November 2027.

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