The European Commission stated in a letter to WSRW on 23 June 2010 that their fisheries in Western Sahara is legal. In doing so, the Commission has severely misrepresented a UN legal opinion from 2002. WSRW objects to the EU misuse of the UN document.
Thank you for your letter of 27 May 2010 on the Fishery Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco to Commissioner Damanaki, who asked me to reply on her behalf.
Regarding the compliance of the current Agreement with international law, and the legal opinion of the European Parliament mentioned in your letter, we would like to reiterate that in his letter of 2002, Mr. Corell, concluded that (economic) activities in a Non-Self-Governing Territory by an administering Power are illegal “only if conducted in disregard of the needs and interests of the people of that Territory”. This opinion was taken into consideration with negotiating the agreement in 2006.
I would like to confirm that the position of Mr. Landaburu, Head of the European Delegation to Morocco, reflects the position of the European Commission, highlighted above.
Finally, as your question on our views on the report on the impact of the Fishery Partnership Agreement on the Western Sahara, I would like to confirm that the European Commission has not received any such report and therefore cannot comment on it.
In the meantime, the Commission remains of the view that the activities implemented in the framework of the Agreement in the Western Sahara may have a positive effect on the Western Sahara economy, for example through landing of catches, embarkation of local seamen, and use of local ports,
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.