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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement29 July 2021Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

EU and Mauritania announce the conclusion of negotiations for a new fisheries agreement

The European Union and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania have concluded on Wednesday 28 July 2021 the negotiations for the renewal of the bilateral agreement on sustainable fisheries.

Fishing boats, Mauritania © Patrick CHAZOT / Adobe Stock
Fishing boats, Mauritania © Patrick CHAZOT / Adobe Stock

This new agreement, which replaces the one in force since 2008, contributes to further strengthening the political partnership between the EU and Mauritania and confirms several decades of cooperation in the field of fisheries, a key sector for the development of Mauritania’s economy and one of the pillars of European blue growth.

Consistent with the European fisheries policy, the new agreement comes after a long negotiation, which took place in a phase of reform of Mauritania’s fisheries management and incorporates the priorities of the new national sectoral strategy recently adopted.

The Implementation Protocol accompanying the new agreement was concluded for a period of five years and aims at a gradual alignment of the fishing opportunities offered to Union vessels operating in Mauritanian waters with their actual activity, taking into account the best scientific advice in the context of increased monitoring of the state of the fisheries resources concerned. For this reason, the protocol includes, inter alia, a review clause before the third year of application in order to allow the possible adjustment of the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution paid by the Union in the light of the actual use made of these possibilities by Union vessels.

The new protocol contributes to responsible fishing and sustainable management of fisheries resources under improved technical and operational conditions and transparency. It aims in particular to minimise the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems and respects the activities of Mauritanian coastal and artisanal fleets.

The protocol provides for access by the European fleet to Mauritanian waters for the fishing of crustaceans, demersal fish, tuna and small pelagics, for a total of approximately 290.000 tonnes per year. For the first years of application of the protocol, in addition to the catches paid by European fishermen, the EU will devote EUR 57,5 million per year to this partnership. The European Union will pay Another EUR 16,5 million, spread over the duration of the protocol, as sectoral support to accompany the implementation of the Mauritanian national strategy by measures approved jointly.

With this new protocol, the European Union and Mauritania reiterate their desire to generate more wealth and employment opportunities in Mauritania, while ensuring the continuation of fishing activities for European vessels traditionally operating in Mauritanian waters. In this context, the protocol encourages cooperation between economic operators.

The new protocol provides, inter alia, for a short-term modification of the fishing zone for the small pelagic category, based on a favourable scientific opinion, which has already been issued by the independent Joint Scientific Committee. This measure will improve the attractiveness of Mauritanian waters for the European fleet, while ensuring through the adoption of a management plan the conservation of this resource.

The Mauritanian authorities have already started drawing up this management plan, which will be validated by the Joint Committee as soon as possible after the finalisation of the adoption process at national level.

Other measures within the protocol include improving data collection through the application of electronic systems for daily monitoring and better monitoring of fleet activities, clear definitions of by-catch limits, more detailed provisions on scientific observation, improved conditions and requirements for seafarers.

The protocol also includes a new annex specifically dedicated to transparency, which aims to facilitate the collection of data and the dissemination of information on the activities of all fleets operating in Mauritanian waters.

Measures are foreseen to facilitate and improve the efficiency of sectoral support in the coming years. In conjunction with the National Strategy for the Development of the Fisheries Sector recently adopted by Mauritania, the protocol defines in advance the lines of intervention for the allocation of sectoral support, which will be approved at the first Joint Committee within the first three months of application of the new protocol.

In this context, particular attention shall be paid to scientific research, in particular as regards enhanced monitoring of the state of stocks, including through the implementation of scientific observation programmes recently recommended by the Joint Scientific Committee and the relevant regional fisheries organisations.

Actions to protect marine environments and ecosystems will continue under the new protocol through projects benefiting the Coastal National Parks. Actions to strengthen the capacity to control and monitor fishing activities, as well as the capacities of the departments implementing the new national strategy, are eligible for EU funding.

In addition, part of the allocation will also be used to improve and control health conditions throughout the production and processing of fishery products in order to improve the economic impact at national level.

Finally, a specific intervention axis will be dedicated to measures to support artisanal fisheries and coastal communities, which also receive other European support through bilateral cooperation programmes.

Compared to the current protocol, the arrangements for implementing sectoral support have been both simplified and strengthened, in order to take account of the principles of transparency, efficiency, effectiveness and sound financial management. The allocation will be monitored by the Joint Committee provided for in the agreement, which will meet at least once a year, and by regular monitoring of the activities carried out in cooperation with the Delegation of the European Union in Nouakchott.

Additional info on fishing opportunities:

Fishing categories

Allowable catch and reference tonnages


Fishing vessels for crustaceans with the exception of lobster and crab

5 000 tonnes


Black hake trawlers (non-freezer) and bottom longliners

6 000 tonnes


Fish trawlers (freezers) for black hake

black hake: 3 500 tonnes

Calamari: 1 450 tonnes

Cuttlefish: 600 tonnes


Vessels fishing for demersal species other than black hake with gear other than trawls

3 000 tonnes


Tuna Seiners

14 000 tonnes

(tonnage of reference)


Tuna pole-and-line vessels and surface longliners

7 000 tonnes

(tonnage of reference)


pelagic freezer trawlers

225 000 tonnes *


pelagic non-freezer trawlers

15 000 tonnes **



[pm] tonnes

* With an authorised overrun of 10 % without affecting the financial contribution paid by the Union for access

** If these fishing opportunities are utilised, they shall be deducted from the total allowable catch provided for in category 6. 

On the basis of the scientific advice available, the two parties may agree within the Joint Committee on the allocation of fishing possibilities for freezer trawlers targeting demersal species in respect of which a surplus has been identified.







Publication date
29 July 2021
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries