SPAIN : More than 50 Spanish fishing vessels operating in the Mauritanian fishing ground until December 2014 will be allowed to return to these waters in early December, after completion of the licensing process for the first period.
This return to the waters of the Mauritanian fishing ground has been possible after signing the new Protocol to the Fisheries Agreement with Mauritania on 9 July in Nouakchott, in the 5th round of negotiations. The whole process was handled urgently for approval by the EU Council of Ministers, which has enabled both parties to sign it in Brussels on 16 November as well as its provisional entry into force from that date.
From this moment, the European Commission can already make the first payment to Mauritania and shipowners, meanwhile, can start the process for obtaining their new licenses to fish in Mauritanian waters.
This fishing ground has great importance to the Spanish fleet dedicated to catching shellfish and hake as well as the fleet that aims to the capture of tuna and other migratory species.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment -- through the General Secretariat on Fisheries --, in coordination with the European Commission and in constant dialogue with the industry, is conducting intense negotiations so that by the end of January 2016, a meeting of scientists from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and the Mauritanian Institute of Oceanographic Research (IMROP) can take place to assess the possible surplus of other demersal species.
This will allow both parties to discuss the inclusion of a new freezer demersal trawl mode in the first Joint Commission, which should be held at the end of February next year, as stated in the Protocol.
In the fifth and final round of negotiations in Nouakchott, the Commission, with the support of Spain, managed to include the access of freezer vessels to catch a number of species such as cuttlefish, squid and black hake, which were surplus and would allow the Spanish fleet to obtain further profitability from the fishing Protocol.
The management of these new possibilities could make it possible for some units that had to leave the Mauritanian fishing ground in 2012 due to the lack of surplus octopus, to return to it and direct their activity to other abundant and surplus species in those waters.