Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have adopted new fisheries partnership with Morocco including Western Sahara, which aims to sets fishing opportunities for EU vessels and promote sustainable fishing policy in the region
The new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) includes the waters of Western Sahara and aims to take into account the conclusions reached by the EU Court of Justice on this matter.
Some of the few pointers of the agreement:
· It stresses the results of the consultation process carried out by the European External Action Service and the Commission, in which most of those consulted were in favour of a new fisheries agreement, while it also points out that the Polisario Front did not wish to take part in the consultation, because they were against the agreement in principle.
· It includes an assessment that the agreement is beneficial to local people in this region, with 141 companies processing fisheries products that employ approximately 90 000 people directly or indirectly.
· It does not prejudice the outcome of the political process on the final status of Western Sahara and fully supports UN efforts to find a political solution which allows the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.
The deal aims to promote sustainable fishing by allowing EU vessels to catch only the allowable catch surplus referred to in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Furthermore, the SFPA:
· Enables the EU and Morocco to work together more closely on promoting a sustainable fisheries policy
· Supports Morocco’s efforts to develop the fisheries sector and a blue economy
A joint EU-Morocco committee will be set up to monitor the application of this agreement which may amend the protocol accordingly.