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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

EU fishery protocols: Morocco and Mauritania

Progress in the negotiations for a new protocol to the fisheries partnership agreement between the EU and Morocco is slow, being stranded especially on issue of the financial counterpart from the EU and the issue of inserting a human rights clause, was reported at the last Council of the EU meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 22 April 2013.
On the occasion, Spain has requested the Commission for a special briefing on the state of play of the negotiations concerning the EU-Morocco fisheries protocol, but also on its position with regard to the results of the joint scientific committee meeting held recently within the EU/Mauritania fisheries protocol.
On the basis of a mandate granted to the Commission by the Council, negotiations for a new protocol to the EU-Morocco agreement were opened in early November 2012. A fifth round of negotiation took place on 11-12 February 2013 and ended inconclusively. No dates have yet been scheduled for a sixth round, but Morocco is expected to fix a date for a new round of negotiations.
Concerning Mauritania, on 3 December 2012 the Council decided to sign and provisionally apply the new protocol to the fisheries partnership agreement with Mauritania. This decision was taken by qualified majority as some member states did not support the signing and provisional application. Spain considered for example that this protocol did not provide for fishing opportunities for cephalopods. The protocol contains a revision clause which would enable the joint EU/Mauritania committee to change the current fishing opportunities on the basis of scientific advice. The last meeting of this committee did not provide fishing opportunities for cephalopods but led to the convening of the EU/Mauritania joint scientific committee which took place from 2-5 April 2013. This committee envisaged possible adjustments of the protocol only for pelagic fishes and crustaceans.
Both fisheries partnership agreements are especially important to Spain.

Source: Council of the EU