The pelagic species are migratory fish that swim in shoals which results in a selective way of fishing. They live close to the surface of the water or between two bodies of water. Pelagic fisheries is carried out further off the coast (deep sea) and whole year round, but now for a two month period devoted to biological rest.
Between 60 and 70 boats fishing small pelagics are operating in the Mauritanian EEZ with Russian, Ukrainian or European flags. There are also boats using other flags (convenience) but no Mauritanian boat at all.
In total, between 500,000 and 600,000 tons are caught each year in Mauritania’s EEZ, these being primarily horse mackerel and round sardinella, but other common pelagic species are available such as mackerels, anchovies, sardines, …
The EU Mauritania new fishing agreement restricts the number of European boats authorized to fish simultaneously to 22 only.
However while this number is an increase on the previous agreement (where the number was 15), it now covers the fleets of new EU members such as Lithuania which in the past were already present in the area, but not under the EU fisheries agreement. The total catch permitted is limited to 440,000 tons per year.
The by-catch of the European fleet of freezer trawlers is only 3% of the catch, however given their large catch size, this represents 20,000 tons of by-catch made up of hake, sea bream etc.
* Some small pelagic fish available in Mauritanian waters (dwelling on high sea)
The Mauritanian potential yearly catches are approx. of 1.5 million tons, principally small pelagic fish (900 000 tons)
|Atlantic Horse mackerel|
Yellow mullets are well known for their eggs called « Poutargue » ( mullet roe ). Average size is between 45 and 60 cm with weights between 1,5 and 3 kg. Fish can be cleaned and sold on the spot (low market value).
However when Yellow mullet roe (Poutargue) is dried and lacked with red paraffin. 300 tons of fish gives 3 tons of Poutargue (3%), one ton of Poutargue can be sold for as much as 10 000 to 15 000 €. It’s possible to catch about 2 500 tons of Yellow mullets a day...
Some big pelagic fish available in Mauritanian waters (dwelling on high sea)
|Yellow fin (Albacore)|
|Germon (long fin tuna)|
|Blue fin tuna|
|Atlantic white marlin|