Mauritania enjoys large fisheries resources, exploited by an important domestic small-scale sector and industrial fleets operated mainly by foreign countries. Total marine fisheries catches by Mauritania were estimated from 1950 to 2010, including commercial landings, subsistence, illegal and unreported domestic catches, as well as catches by non-Mauritanian legal and illegal fleets. Commercial landings were obtained from FAO fisheries statistics database and from the Mauritanian Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries Research (IMROP) for both domestic and foreign fleets. Non-commercial data were obtained from field surveys and grey literature, which were converted to per capita rates and catch per unit of effort estimates using population data. Illegal catches and discards were estimated using recent at-sea observer data, collected by IMROP expanded to cover the 1950-2010 time period. Total reconstructed catches were estimated to be 72.1 million tonnes over the study period, increasing from 59,400 t∙year-1 in 1950 to a peak of 2.3 million t∙year-1 in 1976, and then decreasing to 1.9 million t∙year-1 in 2010, and were overwhelmingly by foreign fleets. Domestic catches were reconstructed to be three times as high as official landings data reported by Mauritania, with 11.8 million t compared to 3.9 million t reported to the FAO. In addition, we noted that catches , including illegal catches, from the Banc d’Arguin National Park, an important marine protected area, were twice as high as official landings. This poses questions about protection of the park area. The data presented here are preliminary, and will be improved using local expertise.
Reconstructing marine fisheries catches Mauritania: An update – presentation powerpoint file