MEPs' disappointment with fisheries agreement with Morocco
FIS - Members of the Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament (EP) argue that the results of the fishing agreement signed between the European Union (EU) and Morocco are negative due to the high cost in relation to the profit it generates and the few advantages it offers to the Moroccan population.
In fact, some parliamentarians referred to the said agreement with adjectives like "depressing," "disappointing" and "catastrophic."
"It's the most negative report I've seen in my life," stated Carmen Fraga, president of the Committee on Fisheries.
Furthermore, she said she was "impressed" by the conclusions of the EU executive on the application of the extended bilateral agreement postponed last July and which will replace the existing agreement until 27 February, 2012.
During the MEPs discussions, Fraga asked the EC to explain what the strategy followed will be when the current agreement expires.
In this regard, she considered that the next deal "will have to be different."
"The fishing industry needs to receive the action required; it has the right to know what the future holds," said Fraga according to EFE news agency.
MEPs also call for the EU executive to deliver scientific data for the fisheries, as many of the fish stocks are overfished in Moroccan territorial waters.
The impact of the agreement on the population of Western Sahara is also an issue for the community members, admitted Raúl Romeva.
At one point the agreement provides for the requirement to Rabat to offer data to prove that the people of Western Sahara is benefitting from the economic compensation for letting European boats fish in Moroccan waters.
MEP Carl Haglund, meanwhile, criticized Brussels’ decision to extend the agreement one year "without consulting" the EP, the agency Europa Press reported.
"This agreement is the least successful of all the bilateral agreements. It is not too satisfactory," he said.
On the other hand, parliamentarian Antonio Sánchez-Presedo supported the extension of the agreement despite "legitimate concerns" about the benefits obtained by Sahrawi people.
In addition, he insisted that "the agreement does not mention sovereignty," so he has called for the signing of a "balanced” agreement.
"That issue is the one we must discuss," said Sánchez-Presedo.
During the four years of the current fisheries agreement, the EU provided EUR 144 million to Morocco for 119 fishing licenses, of which 101 belonged to Spanish ships.
The EU considers to pay Morocco to fish in occupied Western Sahara. An EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement from 2013 would be both politically controversial and in violation of international law.
The international Fish Elsewhere! campaign demands the EU to avoid such unethical operations, and go fishing somewhere else. No fishing in Western Sahara should take place until the conflict is solved.