Commission Denounces Fishing Agreement

PRESS RELEASE, 31 Jan 2008

In 2006, the EU negotiated a fisheries agreement with Mauritania, which is due to be renewed this year.

In return for fishing rights, the EU pays Mauritania 86 million euros per annum.

This has led to the devastation of Mauritania's fish stocks, with species disappearing, and thousands of Africans being thrown out of employment. The UN lays the blame firmly at the door of the foreign fisheries agreements.

The country is dependent on its fishing industry for 50% of its gross national exports, representing 15% of GDP.

Having damaged the economy and destroyed the environment, the Commission now wants to pull the plug on the deal, and withdraw funding. In a document distributed to selected MEPs in Brussels, the Commission's intention to "denounce" the agreement on grounds of insufficient fishing opportunities and that the "financial contribution was too expensive". MEPs were asked to refrain from public discussion of the Commission's plans.

Speaking in parliament on January 30th, UKIP MEP Tom Wise, a member of the fisheries committee, said:

"The export of fish is significantly more important to the developing world in trade terms than other commodities such as rice, coffee, and tea.

Mauritania for example is dependent on its fishing industry for half of its exports, representing 15% of its GDP. But, having devastated Mauritanian waters, the Commission now wants to dump its deal. It does not think these now sterile waters are worth 86 million euros a year.

This denunciation of the fisheries agreement is supposed to be a secret. Well it was until now. I think the African people should know about the EU's shabby and dishonourable plans.

It is colonialism at its most vicious, and I accuse these institutions of racism and exploitation of vulnerable societies".