Harvesting 8% of the world’s octopus supply, Mauritania is a global octopus giant, with an average annual production (2019-2021) of 35,900 tons that is nearly all exported to Spain, according to the Société Mauritanienne de Commercialization de Poisson (SMCP).
With so much of the country’s fish industry success tied into the octopus resource, the sector is moving with government support toward an enhanced Fishery Improvement Plan that is hoped to enable MSC certification after five years. Such an achievement would mean sustainable yields from properly managed octopus stocks and sustainable revenues from more valuable marketing in the EU. Improvements over the status quo are needed in the areas of stock assessment and management as well as a greater understanding of the role of the octopus fishery in the broader marine ecosystem in Mauritanian waters.
The Fishery Improvement Plan for octopus is an initiative of the Global Octopus Supply Chain Roundtable (Octopus SR), led by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, with support from the national government and financial assistance provided SMCP as well as by international buyers. It seeks to ensure the long-run sustainability of the resource through proper government management and industry adherence to sound harvesting practices. After five years, an assessment of the fishery by MSC will decide whether octopus products produced in and exported from Mauritania earn the market-coveted seal of MSC approval.