|EU–Mauritania fisheries partnership in need of more transparency|
In: Marine Policy. Pergamon: Guildford. ISSN 0308-597X; e-ISSN 1872-9460
Fisheries partnership; 2012 Protocol; Sectoral support
The new protocol signed in July 2012 by the European Union and Mauritania under the existing Fisheries Partnership Agreement did not produce the expected results. The main component of this protocol consisted of the access rights for 300,000 t/yr of small pelagics. During the first five months after the signature of the protocol, no EU pelagic trawlers used the opportunities created by the protocol. Only after the formal approval of the protocol by the European Council in December 2013, some eastern EU member states started sending their pelagic trawlers back to Mauritania. This resulted in a utilisation of the protocol of 54% for the whole of 2013. Although the EU repeatedly stated that the €70 million/yr paid under the protocol provided good value for money, this assertion was hard to maintain considering the limited utilisation of the agreement. The paper analyses why the EU concluded an agreement with Mauritania that was not wanted by their industry and that was therefore only partially used in the end. It describes the decision making process inside the EU; the different parties involved and their different objectives. It is concluded that the EU decision making process suffers from a lack of transparency and that the combination of a business agreement with development aid resulted in an agreement which did not attain either of the stated objectives. It is proposed that in future the two aspects are clearly separated, and that the development component is extended to other countries in West Africa, including those that have no fish to sell to the EU.