EU-Morocco fisheries negotiations re-launched
Monday 23 April 2012
Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki visited Rabat, Morocco, on 20-21 April, to re-launch the negotiations for a new fisheries agreement. At the close of her talks with the Moroccan foreign affairs minister, Damanaki said she was pleased that exploratory discussions had begun, and that the European Commission “considers Morocco to be a key partner not only in the Mediterranean, but in general”. Damanaki confirmed that the Commission had granted her a mandate to discuss a new fisheries protocol with Morocco, and that she would aim to negotiate an agreement which “respects environmental sustainability, is profitable for both sides and is in line with international law”. Cooperation between the EU and Morocco is not a choice, she emphasised, but a “must,” and the two parties must cooperate if fish stocks are to be effectively managed. From the end of February, boats flying the EU flag have been unable to fish in Moroccan waters, since the European Parliament rejected the extension of the fisheries protocol that were previously in force, due to variations in the areas of the fishing zone covered by the agreement for Western Sahara.