Fishing in Mauritania and Morroco
Vessels of PFA members have also fished for sardine, horse mackerel, mackerel and sardinella, in the waters off western Africa (Mauritania and Morocco).
From 1996 PFA members were active in the waters of Mauritania under the EU fisheries partnership agreement with that country. Up to 20 per cent of the PFA catch came from these waters. However, a new agreement between the EU and Mauritania, in force since December 2012, has set technical conditions that now make commercially viable fisheries very difficult. For this reason, from April 2012, members of the PFA have hardly been active in Mauritanian waters.
The background of the involvement of PFA members in Mauritania is that they were asked by the Mauritanian government in the mid 1990s to start fishing pelagic species in their waters. The Soviet Union’s fleet of stern trawlers had left West African waters and the pelagic fish stocks were underutilised. From a biological point of view, there were no objections to fishing the pelagic species. The PFA conducted a responsible fishery in Mauritanian waters, provided valuable employment opportunities and supported the continuation of biological research on the stocks. PFA trawler owners employed approximately 200 Mauritanian crew members working on-board the vessels. In addition, trainee officers, inspectors, agents and fisheries biologists were all involved in pelagic fishing activities.
Fishing activities in the waters of Morocco began in early 2000 and ended in December 2011, when the EU agreement with Morocco was voted down in the European Parliament. At the point of preparing this text (July 2013) the EU had just signed a new fisheries agreement with Morocco which includes a pelagic component, and a restart of PFA member activities in Morocco is expected in the near future.