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4.1 Introduction

This section will consider these States alone, on the basis they are the States participating in the Fridtjof Nansen Programme for Northwest Africa.

4.2 The legal framework

This section will consider matters in light of the following arrangements:

- African Atlantic Convention
- SRFC Convention
- Cooperation Agreement in Fishing Sector between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

Morocco and Senegal are contracting parties to the African Atlantic Convention, while The Gambia and Mauritania are only signatories. The Gambia, Mauritania and Senegal are contracting parties to the SRFC Convention, while Morocco is not. All four States in question are members of CECAF. Morocco and Mauritania have signed an agreement for the cooperation between the two states in marine fisheries related matters. These four arrangements, and the scope for cooperation within each of them, has already been discussed in section 3 above.

4.3 Arrangements for cooperation

The choice of arrangement for cooperation among the four States is far from immediately clear. In the case of each of the existing four arrangements, only a portion of the membership of the arrangements is in issue. Furthermore, in the case of the African Atlantic Convention only two of the four States in question are parties, and in the case of the SRFC Convention only three of the four States are parties. In these circumstances, and in view of the current weak position of CECAF, it is suggested that two broad options are available.

The first is for the four States in question to form an arrangement among themselves. The justification for this would be that (a) it would allow focus on the unit of principal interest to the Fridtjof Nansen Programme for Northwest Africa and (b) it would allow negotiation between the four States from first principles (e.g. those suggested in sections 3.3 to 3.8 above). It need not be a treaty; on the contrary a MOU or joint statement among the States might be more appropriate.

Its chief disadvantage is that it would ignore the significant cooperation arrangements already in place. Further, it would potentially need to be integrated with any existing bilateral arrangements existing between any of the four States in question (e.g. the arrangements between The Gambia/Senegal, Mauritania/Senegal, Morocco/Senegal, and Morocco/Mauritania [see Table 7]).

The second broad option would instead be to use any of the existing arrangements. However, use of such arrangements would require (as appropriate):

  1. accession to the African Atlantic Convention by The Gambia and Mauritania coupled with an amendment of the existing system of consultative mechanisms and introduction of a sub-regional approach (see section 3.2.1 above); or
  2. a means of linking Morocco into the activities of the SRFC coupled with an amendment of the existing system of consultative mechanisms (see section 3.2.2 above); or
  3. strengthening of the position of CECAF coupled with introduction of a sub-regional approach (see section 3.2.3 above).

4.4 Themes for cooperation

The possible themes for cooperation are research and stock assessment, conservation and management, and MCS. Elements of cooperation under each of these themes have already been suggested in sections 3.8.1, 3.8.2 and 3.8.3, respectively. However, the following broad points can be made:

  1. the degree to which cooperation in any of the themes is attempted can be tailored to match the amount of political will that exists;
  2. in general, research and stock assessment is the least politically-contentious theme for cooperation;
  3. cooperation in conservation and management need not be accompanied by cooperation in MCS (though in principle this is desirable);
  4. cooperation in MCS need not be preceded by cooperation in conservation and management.

4.5 Conclusion

Political circumstances are likely to drive both the nature of any cooperation arrangement between the four States in question and the theme and degree of any cooperation. The broad options on arrangements and themes for cooperation have been described in sections 4.3 and 4.4 above. Beyond these broad options, the availability of more detailed options will depend to a large extent on whether an existing arrangement is being used or whether a new arrangement is created. In either case, the more detailed options in sections 3.5 and 3.8 above are relevant. In the case of a new arrangement being created, the more detailed options in sections 3.3, 3.4, 3.6 and 3.7 are relevant. Though geared to arrangements for cooperation over small pelagics in Northwest Africa generally, the discussion in those sections (3.3 - 3.8) is equally applicable to The Gambia, Mauritania, Morocco and Senegal.

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