The joint project between the Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research (RIVO) and the Mauritanian Institute for Oceanography and Fisheries Research (IMROP) has been initiated in 1998 in order to strengthen Mauritania’s capacity for research on stocks of small pelagic fish. Part of this project is the 'Scientific Observer Program' that monitors the catches (conserved and discarded) of the EU fishery for small pelagics in Mauritania. The EU pelagic fleet in Mauritania focuses their fisheries mainly on the group of sardinella, additional target species are horse mackerel, chub mackerel and pilchard. Still, the unwanted bycatches of non-commercial large animals such as sharks and dolphins is inevitable so far. This report describes the total bycatches of the pelagic megafauna by the EU pelagic fleet in the Mauritanian Exclusive Economic Zone during the year 2001. The current sampling of large bycatches appears to be full of shortcomings and the collected data are inadequate to apply for the evaluation of the impact of the EU pelagic fishery in Mauritania. Therefore it is concluded that the program needs to undergo a thorough renewal. Essential recommendations are given.
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