Since July 2009, a legal opinion written by the European Parliament’s legal service has been held outside of public knowledge. The extraordinary text concludes that the EU fisheries in Western Sahara under its current shape must stop.
The eleven page legal opinion urges the EU to respect the wishes and interests of the Sahrawi people, and slams the highly criticized statements from the European Commission on the matter of EU fisheries in the territory.
Today, Thursday 28 January, for the first time, the opinion will be publicly debated and presented. The debate will take place in the European parliament’s Fisheries Committee.
The analysis is made on request from the European Parliament's Committee on Development.
The EU has since 2007 been fishing in waters offshore the occupied Western Sahara. The EU pays the Moroccan government for the licences, despite the fact that no states recognise the Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, and that Morocco has never laid any maritime claim over the waters offshore the territory. The EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement is seen as a political support to Morocco’s illegal occupation of the territory.
30 December 2009, 25 Sahrawi organisations sent a letter to the European Commission pointing out that the Sahrawi people has never been consulted in relation to the EU fisheries in their country. Polisario Front, the Sahrawi liberation movement, has stated the same on numerous occasions.
Western Sahara Resource Watch demands all EU fisheries in occupied Western Sahara to be stopped immediately. See more about the unethical EU fisheries on the WSRW’s campaign homesite www.fishelsewhere.eu.
For further questions or comments:
Sara Eyckmans WSRW international coordinator tel (+32) 475 458695 sara.eyckmans@ gmail.com
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.