Is the EU's Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) with Mauritania a genuine partnership or exploitation by the EU?

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Author(s)Nagel P, Gray T
Publication type Article
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
ISSN (print)0964-5691
ISSN (electronic)1873-524X
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The EU’s fisheries agreements with West African states have long been criticized by NGOs for exporting the EU’s problem of over-exploiting its own fish stocks to African waters. To meet these criticisms, the EU introduced in 2003 a new form of fisheries agreement, the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA), replacing purely commercial deals with a commitment to sharing decision-making with the African states to sustainably develop their fisheries. However, some critics claim that despite the EU’s good intentions, little has changed: the partnerships are dominated by the EU, and the fish stocks in the African states’ waters are still being over-fished to serve the needs of the EU, not the African states. In this paper, the working of the FPA between the EU and Mauritania is investigated to determine whether a genuine partnership has been established, or whether the FPA is a thinly disguised form of EU exploitation, using the fashionable model of partnership as a cover or mask. The findings are that while the FPA is a significant improvement on the EU’s previous fisheries relationship with Mauritania, it falls short of a genuine partnership, and it needs several reforms if it is to meet not only its own specifications of what constitutes the FPA, but also wider, aspirational notions of the essence of partnership.
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