Ba Abou Sidi
Chef du Département Valorisation et Inspection Sanitaire
Institut National de Recherches
The coasts of Mauritania are famous among full of fish of the world. The halieutic resources contain a great diversity of species. The total captures by year often exceed 600 000 tonnes. The majority produced by foreign vessels under agreements of fishing which unload directly abroad. The productions unload in Mauritania, is marketed according to two circuits: the Mauritanian Company of Fish Marketing (SMCP), which holds the monopoly of the gross frozen fish, while all the other products are marketed freely. The fishery sector brings in more than 50 percent of export earnings and contributes more than 25 percent to the Mauritanian budget. In spite of this importance of the sector, the activity of fishing is only slightly integrated into national economy. Consumption is estimated at 4.3 kg per capita for a population of 2.6 million inhabitants.
1. NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF FISH TRADE ON FISH SECURITY
On the resources:
- Encouragement to overfish high value species;
On the economy:
- Measures by the Authorities to improve the production will benefit foreign consumers but not domestic consumers: tax, holidays, and fuel subsidies;
- The important exploitation of the mollusc (clams, mussels, gasteropods) was stopped in 1996 waiting for certification (problem of SPS);
On national consumers:
- Reducing the availability of fish products in local markets;
- Increase of fish prices beyond buying power of domestic consumers;
- Discouragement to eat fish while the Government is undertaking actions to improve the local consumption;
- Negative reaction of the population (displeasure) seeing the products going for export;
On artisanal fish products:
- Restrictions created by SPS provisions;
- Depreciation of artisanal fish products in spite of their specific quality;
2. POSITIVE IMPACTS OF FISH TRADE ON FISH SECURITY:
- Increasing wealth (product, foreign exchange); improvement of the commercial balance; creation of employment; creation of labels;
On production unities:
- Modernization of factories and vessels;
- Transfer of processing technologies;
- Development of the approach of quality and price;
3. PROPOSAL FOR ACTION PROGRAMMES
On national level:
- It is a priority to the Authorities and their partnerships e.g. FAO and others, to undertake measures to preserve the resources and the future of the fisheries by implementing responsible fisheries to control the overfishing of high value species.
- It is necessary to increase the integration of the fishery sector into the national economy, by processing the catch in Mauritania. Actually more than 95 percent of the catches landed, are exported as gross frozen products. Good training in processing techniques and quality control is required.
- The fish consumption is about four kg per capita, which is very low for the Mauritanien population. They have lived with the drought since 1970. The Authority and their partnerships have to undertake actions to increase significantly, the level of fish consumption to assure food security.
On regional level:
Inside each zone like the West African countries and the Arabian countries, there is a big interest to co-operate for developing fish trade and improving their artisanal products with fewer barriers (SPS). The professionals can gain a lot of money in their region. The international institutions like FAO can support it.