EU will renew fisheries agreement with Morocco much to the Polisario’s discontent

The European Union is determined to renew in 2018 the fisheries agreement with Morocco, which came into force in 2014, a news that distraught the Polisario leaders.

Brussels made the decision on the basis of the recent “retrospective and prospective evaluation report of the protocol to the partnership agreement in the field of sustainable fisheries between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco”.

In its conclusions, the Directorate for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission (EC) recommends the renewal of the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement, saying it represents “an instrument of in-depth cooperation with Morocco, which is strongly involved in South-South cooperation”.

The report also concludes that the fisheries accord has achieved its objective of supporting the industry’s sustainable development.

In the report, which was submitted to the European Parliament before it is published in January 2018, the European Commission considers that the fisheries agreement allows the EU to generate a good return, as every Euro invested generates 2.78 euros of total value added – directly and indirectly- while only 7 years ago, in 2010, the return was 0.65 euro in total value added. At the same time, it contributes to the development of the fisheries sector in Morocco.

According to the European Maritime Affairs Directorate, the agreement has proved “effective in achieving its objective of sustainability of exploitation”. Also, 75% of the agreement’s socio-economic impacts benefit the regions of Dakhla -Oued-Eddahab and Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra and 66% of the amount earmarked for sectoral support, about €37 million, benefit these same regions.

Ignoring this reality, Polisario leaders rushed to campaign against the EU’s decision to renew its fisheries agreement with the Kingdom.

At the same time, they continue to denounce the exploitation of the Western Sahara fisheries resources by Morocco in a vain attempt to dissuade Europeans from importing fish products caught off Western Sahara.

But it is to no avail. The EU had already decided in 2016 that inclusion of the waters off the coast of Western Sahara into the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement is in line with relevant provisions of international law. “The Protocol contains provisions ensuring that it fully complies with international law and serves the interests of all the populations concerned,” the EU had stated.


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