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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

EU-Marocco controversed fisheries agreement

The European Union has signed since several years a series of unfair fishing agreements with Morocco and warnings that these agreements could be applied to waters within the Western Sahara territory were ignored. Already when the 2006 Agreement was initially passed, Sweden expressed its concerns stating that the vagueness of the territorial applicability could allow for European Union to fish in Western Sahara, which would be illegal. At that time, it was still unclear whether fisheries would in fact take place offshore
the territory, although such had been the case under previous agreements and in point of
fact the current one proved to be no exception. The 2007 EU-Moroccan Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA)4 - to be in force for 4 years - has been considered quite controversial since its beginnings and has raised quite a number of questions not only as regards its legality which is inexistent by international law but also because the southern coordinates of the territory under the Agreement were not stipulated,
thus leaving to Morocco free how to interpret where the European vessels could fish. According to the Agreement, fishing can take place in “the waters under sovereignty or jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Morocco.” Since the EU refused to clearly demarcate the area of application of the Agreement upon signing it, the latter opened for European member countries the fishing in Western Sahara waters – an area over which Morocco has no legal claims being a de facto occupying power and not even appearing on the United Nations’ list of administrative countries.

Source: Fish Elsewhere