In view of the economic and social importance of the octopus fishery in Mauritania and its leading role in seafood exports from Mauritania, the SMCP (Seafood marketing and trade promotion of Mauritania) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have been exploring since 2015 ways and means to promote sustainable octopus fisheries through eco-labelling. The eco-labelling approach has been framed within the 2015-2019 National strategy for Fisheries Management of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Economy (MPEM), which was adopted by the Council of Ministers in February 2015.

An FAO/SMCP/MPEM workshop on eco-labelling of octopus in Mauritania was held in Nouadhibou during the period 25 to 26 October 2016. It was attended by national and international experts representing fisheries research, government, academia and industry.

Using the FAO guidelines for eco-labelling of fish and fishery products from marine fisheries and the related methodology of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for fisheries improvement, the workshop reviewed research data, studies and experiences of octopus harvesting and management in Mauritania to identify achievements for consolidations, as well as gaps and deficiencies to address in the 3 main areas of fisheries management: the stock, the eco-system and the management system.

The workshop has:

  • Confirmed the interest and usefulness of eco-labelling as a way to promote sustainable management and harvesting of octopus in Mauritania
  • Taken stock of the progress achieved since the  pre-evaluation that was carried out in 2010 using the MSC methodology
  • Designed the major elements of an action plan to address gaps and insufficiencies and assign responsibilities for its implementation

The workshop outcome will be used to develop shortly a roadmap for introducing eco-labelling of octopus in Mauritania and to mobilize the necessary resources to that effect. In this respect, the SMCP, that is mandated to promote the quality and label of the seafood exported from Mauritania and which is the major counterpart of seafood importers, will act as a focal point for this initiative. It will work to federate the efforts of the stakeholders and concerned institutions in Mauritania. FAO will make available its technical assistance and expertise for its implementation. A working group of experts from FAO and Mauritania will prepare by January 2017 a detailed action plan for eco-labelling octopus in Mauritania with defined activities, responsibilities, timetable, investment, monitoring and evaluation.

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