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Friday, 01 February 2013

Advancements in the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement

The negotiations on a new fisheries agreement between the European Union (EU) and Morocco "have advanced well in the definitions of technical conditions, and may be closed this week.”, sayed the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete at the meeting of the Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries of the EU, which took place on Monday 28 January in Brussels.
"We are trying to improve some technical aspects of fishing opportunities," acknowledged the minister.
This statement comes after a third round of negotiations on the new protocol of the Fisheries Agreement between EU and Morocco took place in Rabat, the capital of Marocco, on 15 and 16 January. Following two rounds dealing mostly with the technical conditions that would apply to the EU fleet under the new protocol, the discussions dealt with financial aspects as well as with political issues.
At this stage, the parties agreed on an increase of fishing opportunities, and, as underlined by the Spanish minister,  a revision of technical conditions for certain fishing categories. The envisaged financial support of fishing sector in regard with programming, implementation and reporting conditions was also part of the discussions.
Intensive discussion were held concerning the Moroccan government pretentions of further receiving EUR 36 million annually as compensation. In response, the EU demanded  more fishing rights required to make the deal profitable and solve one of the weaknesses of the previous one, which was "the under-utilization of several categories, which meant that many boats did not even use their licenses ".
The current Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco entered into force on 28 February 2007. The first Protocol to this Agreement ran until 27 February 2011 and provided for a financial contribution of 36 million € out of which 13.5 million € was dedicated to the support of the fisheries policy of Morocco. Vessels from 11 EU Member States could obtain fishing authorisations from Morocco under the Agreement and this Protocol.


Source: Fish Information & Services (FIS), European Commission