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UE fishing fleet. (Photo: CE)

EU requests authorization to negotiate new fisheries protocol with Morocco

EUROPEAN UNION
Tuesday, January 09, 2018, 01:50 (GMT + 9)

The European Commission (EC) adopted on Monday a recommendation to obtain authorization from the Council to negotiate a new fisheries protocol between the European Union (EU) and Morocco.

The current protocol of the fisheries agreement, established for a period of four years, will expire on July 14, 2018.

In 2017, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries, Aziz Akhannouch, expressed their intention to renew this indispensable instrument for both parties.

According to the CE, an independent evaluation highlights the positive outcome of the current protocol. In this regard, it points out that it has had a positive socio-economic impact for the fishing sector both in the EU and in Morocco, and that it has contributed to more sustainable fishing.

In particular, the evaluation argues that the sectoral support provided by the protocol, in addition to supporting the Halieutis national strategy for the development of the fishing sector, has benefited all the regions it covers.

Furthermore, the report highlights that the terms of the protocol to favor economic development have benefited the local population, as is the case of the discharges in Moroccan ports and the embarkation of local sailors (about 200 sailors work aboard European vessels).

The Council must now approve the recommendation of the Commission in the coming weeks, in order to allow a rapid start of negotiations. This is important to ensure continuity and legal security for fishermen and the industry when the current protocol expires.

The agreement between the EU and Morocco concerns around 120 vessels from 11 EU countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom).

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