Morocco, EU Sign Initial Fisheries Agreement

Morocco, EU Sign Initial Fisheries Agreement

Wednesday, 25 July, 2018 - 10:45
Casablanca - Lahssen Moqana
Morocco and EU negotiators signed the EU-Morocco fisheries deal Tuesday in Rabat, following months-long four rounds of negotiations to replace an agreement that expired last week.

The new agreement included explicit reference to the inclusion of Moroccan territorial waters and Western Sahara in line with the decision issued by the European Court of Justice in December 2016.

A statement by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing explained that the new deal includes the geographical area from Cap Spartel to Cap Blanc, excluding the Mediterranean Sea in order to conserve its resources, which have been excessively exploited in several areas.

It allows EU boats to access Morocco's fishing waters for 52 million euros per year ($60m), a 30 percent increase on the old deal, the statement added.

The two sides agreed on a number of measures aimed at improving the benefit of the local population in the regions concerned.

They will enjoy the socio-economic benefits of the deal, particularly in terms of infrastructure, basic social services, development projects and modernization of the fishing sector.

Among other measures, the statement pointed to "an increase in the number of Moroccan sailors working on European ships."

“To maintain the sustainability of fishery resources and protect the marine environment, many technical requirements have been incorporated,” it added.

Some types of fish that require protection are not included in the new agreement, such as octopus and shrimp.

The fisheries monitoring and control system has also been strengthened by making the presence of observers mandatory in some species not covered by the old protocol.

The signed agreement still requires green light from both the EU Member States and the EU Parliament, while also having to go through the legislative process in Morocco.

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