Mauritania & Senegal
Senegal signs fisheries treaty with Mauritania
afrol News, 11 March - The Senegalese Minister of Fisheries, Cheikh Sadibou Fall, today signed a fisheries treaty with his Mauritanian colleague, Ahmedou Ould Ahmedou, while visiting the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott. The accord is to regulate the fishing in the rich waters off Mauritania and Senegal, where also the European Union has strong economic interests.
According to the official Mauritanian News Agency (AMI), the new Mauritanian-Senegalese treaty amplifies and replaces a similar treaty of last year. It is to enhance the technical, scientific and educational fisheries cooperation and better the conditions for development. While the fisheries are Mauritania's principal foreign cash earner, they also figure among the top export industries of Senegal.
The treaty provides the "necessary impulsion" of a deeper cooperation between the two neighbouring countries in terms of protecting the fragile economic resource. It is also to resolve the current diplomatic crisis between the countries that has emerged by Senegalese pirate fishing vessels in Mauritanian territorial waters and several lethal attacks on these fishermen by the Mauritanian coastguard.
The two ministers also attended to a meeting with representatives from all the coastal states between Mauritania and Sierra Leone, including Cape Verde, to prepare for the establishment of a regional maritime resource management agency.
All these countries sell large fishing quotas to the European Union - constituting important foreign currency earners. Local and international environmentalists have however warned that the large quotas sold could deplete fish stocks within short time and are already hurting coastal fishing; a key livelihood to most coastal communities. These West African countries have a potential in coordinating their fisheries' policies and EU contacts, observers hold.
The Mauritanian and Senegalese Presidents also used the occasion of the visiting Minster to exchange messages of "friendship and brotherhood," underlining the strong improvement in Senegalese-Mauritanian relations over the past years. The two neighbours were at the brink of war over national minorities few years ago.
Sources: Press reports and afrol archives