EU and Mauritania have signed a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement (SFPA) on 15 November 2021, for a duration of six years, tacitly renewable.
The new protocol to the SFPA was signed the same day and entered into provisional application on 16 November 2021 for a duration of 5 years, i.e. until 15 November 2026. This protocol confirms several decades of cooperation in the field of fisheries, a key sector for the development of Mauritania and one of the pillars of the European strategy for sustainable blue growth.
Under the protocol, the EU fleet is allowed to fish in Mauritanian waters for shrimp, demersal fish, tuna and small pelagic fish, up to a total of 287,050 tonnes a year, under improved operational conditions. In addition to the fees paid by the European fleet (tonnage fees and para-fiscal taxes), the EU pays a financial contribution of €57.5 million per year for the access to waters. EU also pays €16,5 million for the whole period of application of the protocol to support local fishing communities in Mauritania and to improve fisheries governance. If appropriate, these figures might be reviewed before the end of the second year of application. This revision will be carried out on the basis of the status of the targeted stocks and of the actual utilisation of the fishing opportunities by the EU fleet.
In line with the EU's fisheries policy, the protocol contributes to responsible fishing and the sustainable management of fisheries resources, including enhanced transparency measures. It seeks to minimise fishing impacts on marine ecosystems and respects the activities of the Mauritanian coastal and artisanal fleets.
Main features of the SFPA
Duration of the agreement
6 years renewable (16.11.2021 – 15.11.2027)
Nature of the SFPA
Duration of the protocol
5 years (16.11.2021-15.11.2026)
€57,5 million/year for access, and € 16,5 million for the whole period of application of the protocol to support the fisheries sector.
Fishing opportunities and fees for ship-owners
Category 1 — Fishing vessels specialising in crustaceans other than spiny lobster and crab (maximum 5 000 tonnes / year; maximum 15 vessels).
Fee: €450/t, annual advance fee of €1 500/vessel deducted from total fee due.
Category 2 — Black hake non-freezer trawlers (maximum 6 000 tonnes/year; and maximum 4 vessels).
Fee: €100/t, annual advance fee of €1 000/vessel deducted from total fee due.
Category 2a — Black hake freezer trawlers (main target species: black hake, maximum 3 500 tonnes/year; secondary species: squid maximum 1 450 t/year and cuttlefish, maximum 600 t/year, 25% by-catch allowed for demersal fish other than black hake, and maximum 6 vessels).
Fees: black hake: €100/t, squid: €575/t, cuttlefish: €250/t and €90/t for by-catches; annual advance fee of €1 000/vessel deducted from total fee due.
Category 3 — Vessels fishing for demersal species other than black hake with gear other than trawls (maximum 3 000 t; maximum 6 vessels).
Fee: €105/t, annual advance fee of €1 000/vessel deducted from total fee due.
Category 4 — Tuna seiners (reference tonnage 14000 tonnes; maximum 29 vessels).
Fee: €75/t in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year; €80/t in the 4th and 5th year; Annual flat-rate advance fee of € 3 500/vessel.
Category 5 — Pole-and-line tuna vessels and surface long-liners (reference tonnage 7 000 tonnes; maximum 15 vessels).
Fee: €75/t in the 1st , 2nd and 3rd year; €80/t in the 4th and 5th year; Annual flat-rate advance fee of €2 500/pole-and-line vessel and of €3 500/surface long-liner.
Category 6 — Pelagic freezer trawlers (maximum 225 000 tonnes; maximum 19 vessels).
Fees: € 75/t for sardines and sardinellas; 140 €/t for mackerels and horse-mackerels, € 123/t other small pelagics annual advance fee of €5 000/ vessel deducted from total fee due.
Category 7 — Non-freezer pelagic vessels (maximum 15 000 tonnes/year, deducted from category 6; maximum 2 vessels).
Fees: same as cat. 6, annual advance fee of €5 000/ vessel deducted from total fee due.
Category 8 – Cephalopods: no fishing opportunities granted under the current protocol.
The first fisheries agreement concluded between the EU and Mauritania dates back from 1987. The previous Fisheries Partnership Agreement was concluded in 2006 and entered into force on 1.08.2006. It was adopted by Council Regulation (EC) No 1801/2006 of 30.11.2006 (OJ L343 of 8.12.2006) for a duration of 6 years renewable (30.11.2006 - 29.11.2012; 30.11.2012 - 29.11.2018; 30.11.2018 – 15.11.2021).
The second protocol (2012-2014) to the FPA expired on 15.12.2014:
- Council Decision (2012/827/EU) of 3.12.2012 on signature and provisional application
- Council Regulation (EU) n°1259/2012 on the allocation of fishing opportunities
- Council Regulation (EU) n°680/2013 amending Council Regulation (EU) n°1259/2012.
- Protocol approved by the European Parliament on 8.10.2013 and by the Council on 15.11.2013 through Council Decision (EU) n 672/2013 of 15.11.2013 (L 313 of 22.11.2013).
The third protocol was concluded for a duration of 4 years (from 16.11.2015 to 15.11.2019), extended twice for one year (from 16.11.2019 to 15.11.2020 and from 16.11.2020 to 15.11.2021). It expired on 15.11.2021.
- Decision on the signature and provisional application of the protocol adopted by Council Decision (EU) 2015/2191 of 10.11.2015 (OJ L315 of 1.12.2014). The text of the protocol was published in the same OJ.
- Decision on the conclusion of the protocol adopted by Council Decision (EU) 2016/870 of 24.05.2016 (OJ L145 of 2.6.2016).
- Allocation of fishing opportunities adopted by Council Regulation (EU) 2015/2192 of 10.11.2015 (OJ L315 of 1.12.2015).
- Fishing opportunities and the financial compensation of the protocol adopted by Commission Decision (EU)2017/451 of 14.03.2017 (OJ L69 of 15.03.2017).
- First extension of the protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution adopted by Council Decision (EU) 2019/1918 of 8.11.2019 (OJ L 297I of 18.11.2019).
- Allocation of the fishing opportunities and financial contribution, adopted by Council Regulation (EU) 2019/1919 of 8.11.2019 (OJ L 297I of 18.11.2019).
- Second extension of the protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution adopted by Council Decision (EU) 2020/1704 of 23 October 2020 (OJ L 383 of 16.11.2020, p.1)
In accordance with the agreement and protocol, the two parties encourage scientific cooperation and consult a Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) to strengthen monitoring of the marine biological resources and to examine scientific questions relating to the implementation of the protocol.
The EU-Mauritania JSC and Joint Committee (JC) welcome the publication of four manuals for scientific observers.
The manuals were developed in the framework of the "Study on improvement for the analysis and exploitation of observer reports in EU fisheries from NW African waters" (Specific Contract No 12 under the Framework Contract EASME/EMFF/2016/008), and they were consolidated by all the institutions involved during the "Workshop on the standardisation of on-board observer methods" held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife from 27 to 31 January 2020.
The scientific experts consider these four manuals a very useful basis to inform about properly carrying out scientific observations for scientific data collection. Note that the documents, published here to facilitate easy online consultation, should not be considered as finalised but as working documents.
Current legal framework
Conclusion of the sustainable fisheries partnership agreement between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Implementing Protocol thereto adopted by Council Decision (EU) 2022/1448 of 18.7.2022.
Agreement adopted by Council Decision (EU) 2021/2123 of 11 November 2021.
Allocation of fishing opportunities adopted by Council Regulation (EU) 2021/2061 of 11 November 2021.