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Free licensing scheme

free licensing scheme

The “Free licensing” scheme can be granted to foreign vessels intervening (or not) within a bilateral Fishing Agreement framework already existing with another country.

The Free licensing scheme is more costly than the chartering one, as all payments shall be performed each month in advance, as long as the ship enjoys its “Free License” and is actually fishing in Mauritanian waters. License fees are higher than in the chartering scheme, too.

The “Free license” option is therefore less attractive to foreign prospects than chartering. However, within the free licensing scheme, the catch is not submitted to mandatory trans-shipment in open roadstead and the production can be freely commercialized by the foreign Ship Owner and directly exported without any customs formalities.

No currencies repatriation is either required from the license owner.

The Free licensing mandatory procedure calls for a preliminary agreement to be established between the foreign ship owner and a Mauritanian representative that he must have (by law) on the spot (Consignatory agent).

The Consignatory Agent is the one who obtains, on behalf of the foreign ship owner, the use of a “Free license” from the Mauritanian authorities. Once this preliminary prerequisite is achieved (under strict supervision of the Mauritanian authorities), a fishing convention is established between the Consignatory Agent (representing the foreign Ship Owner) and the Mauritanian state which grants a ”Free license” to the foreign fishing boat.

To be noted that each “Free license” is individually allocated to a given boat.

This procedure avoids any risk of fraud and goes through four steps:

1. The State and the Consignatory Agent - duly mandated by the Ship Owner, as he shall display his signed agent agreement to the Ministry of Fisheries – sign the fishing convention.

2. The Ship Owner shall pay what is due to the Mauritanian Treasury and meantime what is due to the Consignatory Agent.

3. Against delivery of a receipt by the Mauritanian Central Bank to the Consignatory Agent, he gets the « Free licensing » document for each named fishing boat of the foreign Ship Owner

4. The Consignatory Agent carried these documents to the captain of each authorized foreign fishing boats for hand delivery.

A « Free License » is only valid for 12 months but can be renewed.

Fees and constraints related to pelagic free license fishing scheme are as follows:

- Lump sum per month and per ship (whatever GRT) to cover the licensing tax, part of the consignation expenses and mandatory Mauritanian crew salaries. According to the law, a minimum of 35% of the crew on board (usually not qualified sailors) must have the Mauritanian nationality whether embarked or not. Those people are generally not embarked but shall anyway be paid by the Ship Owner (Trade Union requirement)

- Lump sum per year and per ship (seaworthiness survey tax and mandatory harbor tax)

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