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EU Parliament To Vote On Access For Spanish Fleet To Mauritania

The EU Parliament is to decide whether or not to ratify an agreement between the EU and Mauritania to allow Basque tuna fishing to continue in the waters of the West African country. Ratification would allow for the tuna fleet of the Spanish Basque region to continue fishing activity in these waters for a further two years.

If the continuation of the agreement is rejected, the Basque tuna seiners, longliners and pole and line tuna fishing vessels will have to leave the Mauritanian waters with consequent economic loss.

The deal would allow for the fishing activity of 14 Basque tuna purse seiners, 7 tuna pole and line vessels, and 3 tuna longliners. European Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, said that if there was no agreement, the Basque tuna vessels would have to leave the Mauritanian waters, with the likely replacement of Chinese and Russian ships that already have access to fish there.

The cephalopod fleet of the Spanish region of Galicia has been excluded from the proposed ratification of the agreement. Representatives from the Galician community have said this will cause traumatic economic and social impact to the region, and are encouraging a vote to reject the proposal.

Damanaki said that the EU Parliament should not negotiate separately for each member state or fleet, but defend EU common interests.