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Spain regrets exclusion of European fleet from Mauritania

Tuna capture. (Photo: Anfaco)
Click on the flag for more information about Spain SPAIN
Monday, August 04, 2014, 03:10 (GMT + 9)

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) regretted the decision adopted by the European Union (EU) and Mauritania that forces 30 units of the EU fleet, including tuna vessels, pole and line vessel, longliners and trawlers, to go out of the African fishing ground.
For the Spanish government, the current situation is a result of the poor negotiation performed by the EU for the agreement currently in effect.
At the end of the meetings held between 29 and 31 July, the EU and Mauritania agreed to exclude the fleets which had been operating in this fishery since 1 August, 2012 (24 months) from the current fisheries agreement.
This requirement was the condition imposed by Mauritania to prevent the exclusion of the entire community fleet.
"The alternative would have implied a serious crisis between the EU and Mauritania, implying the indefinite suspension of the negotiations for concluding a new fisheries protocol," explained MAGRAMA.
As a result, demersal and tuna fleets had to leave the fishery on 1 August while the shellfish fleet (15 vessels have current license) will be able to continue fishing until 15 December, 2014, under the same current conditions.
The shellfish fleet had returned to the Mauritanian fishing ground in November 2013 after Spain managed to relax the conditions imposed on this fleet.
But the Spanish Government maintains that "it is not understandable that Mauritania takes such decisions as the community fleet does not represent competition for Mauritanian fishermen and the species that the boats are capturing from the fishery ground are currently under-exploited."
For Galicia, five bottom longliners based in Ribeira capturing Ray’s bream, two bottom trawlers from Marin that catch black hake and two surface longliners fishing for swordfish and sharks are the new "victims" of the agreement between Mauritania and the EU.
According to the Minister of Marine Affairs of Xunta de Galicia, Rosa Quintana, the African country was asking the European Commission (EC) for EUR 28 million as compensation so that the Community vessels could work until 15 December but that amount "has not been budgeted or intended to be so," the newspaper Faro de Vigo reported.
For his part, Secretary General of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA), Javier Garat, lamented that "once again, the EU has given in to pressure from Mauritania and sacrifices a part of the Spanish fleet."
"Spain was opposing this solution but ultimately it was not possible," the leader pointed out.
Regarding the possibility of the return of the excluded Galician cephalopod vessels from the current agreement with Mauritania, Garat commented that it was not possible even to talk at the latest meeting, since "the renewal of the agreement was not discussed, all was focused on the current one validity."
The Socialist Group’s Fisheries spokesperson, José Ramón Val, accused the Galician government to remain "on holidays" while the vessels are still fishing in Mauritanian fishing ground were expelled "due to differences" between the EU and Mauritania on the interpretation of the agreement.

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