The European Parliament recently gave its consent to the extension of the EU-Mauritius fisheries protocol with 555 votes against 25 and 40 abstentions.
The extension ensures that the EU fleet will be able to continue fishing operations in the waters of Mauritius for another six months.
The parliament said continuation of the agreement should not only provide access to Mauritius fisheries resources for EU vessels from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, but also to strengthen cooperation between the EU and Mauritius in the area of sustainable fisheries policy.
The Indian Ocean is the biggest source of tuna catches for the EU fleet. The Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Mauritius allows the EU fleet to fish in the waters of Mauritius for tuna and tuna-like species, for up to 4,000 tonnes a year.
The agreement provides access for 40 tuna seiners, 45 surface longliners, and a maximum of 20 supply vessels. The six months extension of the protocol allows the EU fleet to fish for up to 2,000 tonnes.
In turn, Mauritius will receive an EU financial contribution of €287,500 (US$284,700), of which €177,500 (US$175,770) is reserved for the development of Mauritius’ sectoral fisheries policy.
The agreement also aims to strengthen mutual relations between the EU and Mauritius in the area of sustainable exploitation of fishery resources. The EU’s financial support is therefore mainly used for monitoring, control, and surveillance but also to support national fisheries management.
The EU-Mauritius fisheries cooperation is also developed at the cannery industry level. Around 500,000 tonnes of tuna caught by the EU fleet in all the Indian Ocean annually is processed by the Mauritian cannery industry.
The protocol to the fisheries agreement between the EU and Mauritius expired on December 7, 2021, while the process of finalising the new agreement continues. The European Parliament supported a six-month extension of the original protocol with the aim of avoiding interruption of the fishing activities for the EU vessels in the waters of Mauritius.