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Fisheries Documentation in Mauritania 

Fisheries Documentation in Mauritania 

Shoot 
GP0STOGL 
11/03/2007 
Greenpeace visits Mauritania to campaign against the arrival and establishment of the Dutch shellfish industry and its plans of exploitation of the Mauritanian waters. In January 2005 the Dutch Government banned cockle dredging in the Wadden Sea, as one of the measures taken around the world against the destructive practices used by bottom trawl fisheries. After the ban the Ministry of LNV (Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, including Fisheries) has financed part of a test fishery in Mauritanian waters, conducted by the Dutch Institute for Fisheries, IMARES, on behalf of the company Holland Shellfish. In addition to that the Dutch Parliament referred to compensation funds paid to the companies that could not longer fish in the Wadden Sea as a “start-up” subsidy for transferring their operations in Mauritania. The species of shellfish which companies plan to target in Mauritania is the Venus shellfish. Their banks seem to play a key role in creating the unique conditions for the sea grass beds. The impacts of their exploitation in the pristine Mauritanian shellfish banks will likely far outstrip even the damage done in the Wadden Sea. The establishment of a shellfish dredging fishery would have unpredictable negative effects on the marine ecosystem and would farther decimate a marine environment that has already been crippled by years of industrial fishing by European fleets, and ultimately will most likely also completely destroy the local small-scale fisheries that still exist in the area. Not surprisingly, the prospect of Holland Shellfish’s arrival is not being welcomed by many Mauritanians. 
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