The fishing deal signed between Mauritania and a Chinese organisation is causing controversy and being widely hailed as a major disaster for the economy and people of Mauritania.
This deal grants generous and significant privileges to the Chinese partner, offered without guarantees, or avenues for negotiation, or redress for the Mauritanians. At the same time, the agreement allows China to use intensive fishing methods so destructive to marine culture they were http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X07000917">banned in China over 30 years ago.
The term of this deal is 25 years - in other words, it grant rights to China to continuously deplete the wealth of future generation for a quarter century! In addition to fishing the open seas, the deal also impacts inshore and beach fishing, and allows the use of foreign workers, which is expected to throw thousands of local fishermen out of work. As this door of opportunity closes there are serious concerns for the prospects of the younger generation, lacking in both education and employment prospects, and increasingly faced with a choice between unemployment or a criminal lifestyle.
Surveys of the fishing grounds estimate an annual haul of between http://www.rimmedia.net/spip.php?article4028">80 and 100 thousand tons of fish, a volume that will be catastrophic for fish stocks in this region of the North Atlantic, pushing them far beyond the agreed levels for regeneration, to the brink of extinction.
There are no provisions in the deal in respect of existing laws governing fishing in Mauritania, in complete contrast to all previous agreements signed with various parties. This raises a lot of concerns, especially over the inclusion of permission to establish a fish meal processing plant; a venture that cannot be legally undertaken without a thorough environmental impact assessment study.
Another important issue that raises questions about the legality of this deal is the mystery surrounding the identity of the Chinese company that is named in the agreement as Poly Hondone (or Poly Hong Dong) Pelagic Fisheries Co. Ltd. No trace can be found of this company, which does not appear in an online search of legally registered business entities, despite the fact that the name has been mentioned in relation to this agreement since June 2010. At other times, the names Poly Group or Poly Technologies have been linked to this deal and named as the partner. With mounting concern, researchers discovered that these names are widely recognised as organisations created as "front companies" for China's People's Liberation Army to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poly_Technologies">deal in weapons, and with a scandalous history of arms trade, largely in Asia and Africa. One such story is from 2008, when ships belonging to Poly Technologies were discovered to contain http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/19/world/africa/19zimbabwe.html?ref=africa">arms shipments destined for Zimbabwe during a post-election crisis, yet were declared to be carrying food and harmless goods.
This is a brief overview of the many major issues surrounding the fishing deal between Mauritania and China. Taken together, these concerns lead to us to only one possible solution: this deal must be cancelled. It would be a disaster to allow it to go ahead. Therefore, this campaign has only one goal: to stop the fishing deal.