- On September 20 and 21, a workshop took place in Nouadhibou, Mauritania, bringing together representatives and key players in octopus fishing, management, research, and trading. The goal was to launch an octopus fishery improvement project (FIP) aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of the fishery.
- During the workshop, experts presented the results of an MSC pre-assessment and proposed an action plan, which was discussed and approved by the participants and future project stakeholders.
- The governance structure of the octopus FIP, its institutional anchoring, and its financing mechanism were also discussed and validated with stakeholders.
- Société Mauritanienne de Commercialisation de Poisson demonstrated its commitment to the FIP through financial and technical assistance during the workshop, and its institutional involvement in the Mauritanian Association of Octopus Producers and Exporters (AMPEP), which is fully dedicated to the sustainability of the fishery.
From October 2-4, SMCP will participate for the first time in the Conxemar exhibition in Vigo, Spain. SMCP will present the FIP project and invite national and international octopus buyers to join and support the initiative to ensure its implementation and continuity.
“Given the importance of Mauritanian octopus for our markets and its recognized quality by us and our customers, we wish to demonstrate our strong interest in ensuring that Mauritanian octopus comes from a responsibly managed fishery,” said Mari Carmen Fernandez of Angulas Aguinaga, an SR participant company.
SMCP’s support represents the continuation of Mauritania’s national efforts and commitment, which have been ongoing since 2017, but were interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the opening and closing of the workshop, Mr. Dedde Barham, representing the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy (MPEM), and Mr. Mohamed El Mamy Zerough from SMCP, confirmed the commitment of the authorities to the implementation of the project and recognized the governance structures. They also encouraged stakeholders to continue their collaborative efforts.
History and Progress
In 2021, Mauritania and international buyers participating in the Global Octopus Supply Chain Roundtable (Octopus SR), led by SFP (Sustainable Fisheries Partnership), joined a group of interested producers with the goal of deploying resources and initiating activities aimed at ensuring responsible exploitation of the octopus resource.
In 2022, the Mauritanian Association of Octopus Producers and Exporters (AMPEP) was formed and its first statutes were drafted, with the aim of including a majority of national producers. The main objective to date is the launch and implementation of a FIP, ensuring its coordination and financing, and taking measures to demonstrate the country’s credibility as a responsible producer.
In 2022, AMPEP was established and adopted its first set of bylaws, making it open to all professionals involved in the octopus sector in Mauritania. The operational goal pursued to date is to initiate and implement a FIP, ensure its implementation, and take actions that demonstrate the country’s credibility as a responsible producer.
The pre-assessment report identifies gaps in performance indicators, especially in terms of available information to address MSC Principle 2, which evaluates the fishery’s impact on the environment and habitats. Additionally, the report highlights some weaknesses in stock assessment and management. Nevertheless, the report demonstrates that Mauritania conducts regular monitoring of the resource and has a national strategy aimed at protecting and conserving fishery resources.
Global octopus production has shown steady growth. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that production has increased from 37,000 tonnes in 1950, with only a few countries reporting catches of this species group, to more than 500,000 tonnes in 2015. Since then, global octopus catches appear to have stabilized.
According to the FAO, Mauritania is one of the world’s top five first octopus producers, with average annual (2019-2021) octopus production of 35,900 tonnes, representing around 8% of global production. According to the Société Mauritanienne de Commercialisation de Poisson (SMCP), which is responsible for the marketing, exportation, valorization, and traceability of seafood products in Mauritania, annual octopus exports totalled approximately 40,000 tonnes in 2022.