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EU adopts new Fisheries Partnership with Morocco including Western Sahara

Press Release – European Parliament – February 12, 2018

A new agreement on the legal, environmental, economic and social governance of EU vessels’ fishing activities in Morocco and Western Sahara waters was approved on Tuesday.

The new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) includes the waters of Western Sahara and aims to take into account the conclusions reached by the EU Court of Justice on this matter.

To this aim, the approved text:

  • stresses the results of the consultation process carried out by the European External Action Service and the Commission, in which most of those consulted were in favour of a new fisheries agreement, while it also points out that the Polisario Front did not wish to take part in the consultation, because they were against the agreement in principle;
  • includes an assessment that the agreement is beneficial to local people in this region, with 141 companies processing fisheries products that employ approximately 90 000 people directly or indirectly, and with an estimated turnover of approximately EUR 450 million (240 million are exported, of which 60% go to the EU);
  • does not prejudice the outcome of the political process on the final status of Western Sahara and fully supports UN efforts to find a political solution which allows the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

Sustainable fishing

The deal aims to promote sustainable fishing by allowing EU vessels to catch only the allowable catch surplus referred to in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Furthermore, the SFPA:

  • enables the EU and Morocco to work together more closely on promoting a sustainable fisheries policy;
  • supports Morocco’s efforts to develop the fisheries sector and a blue economy.

The total annual value of the fishing opportunities set in a protocol attached to the agreement is estimated at €153.6 million; €48.1 million for the first year, €50.4 million for the second and €55.1 million for the last two years.

A joint EU-Morocco committee will be set up to monitor the application of this agreement which may amend the protocol accordingly.

Source: © European Union, 2019 – European Parliament

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