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EU Parliament OK’s Tuna Fishing Deal With Mauritania

On Tuesday, the European Parliament approved the ratification of the fisheries agreement between the EU and Mauritania. The deal allows for the fishing activity of 14 tuna seiners, seven pole and line vessels and three tuna longliners from the Basque region of Spain to fish in the waters of the West African country.

MEPs backed the agreement with 467 votes in favor, 154 against and 28 abstentions. The negotiations between the European Union and third countries will give tuna fishing licenses to 12 member states in exchange for USD 70 million for each year that the deal is in place.

As proposed, the new agreement will exclude the European cephalopod fleet of mostly Galician crew, and close the Mauritanian waters to this activity.

The Spanish fleet strongly opposed the exclusion of the Galician region of Spain’s cephalopod fleet and argued that the conditions were “unacceptable” and made it unfeasible for it to be a profitable activity.

Around USD 67 million of the compensation for the tuna fishing licenses will fund the catch of the tuna and the remaining balance will go towards the development of local industries.

In the debate that preceded the vote, the President of the Fisheries Committee of the Parliament, Spanish Gabriel Mato delivered a negative view on the agreement, but admitted that the latest changes made the pact “infinitely better” than the initial signing. He still warned it was insufficient for the damage it would cause to the cephalopod fleet.

According to information from the European Parliament, the agreement will remain in effect until the end of 2014.