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European Commission seeks new fish deal with Morocco

On 5 January, the European Commission issued a request to the EU Member States, seeking their support to conduct negotiations with Morocco in order to achieve a new, long-term fisheries protocol. The fishing zones covered by the envisioned accord also include Western Saharan waters.
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EU Commissioner for Fisheries Maria Damanaki has indicated that she aims to draw up a new fisheries protocol “in line with the position expressed by the EU Council and the vote in the European Parliament”.

The European Parliament voted down the one-year extension of the previous protocol on 14 December, over legal, environmental and economical concerns. The Parliament’s legal services had concluded that the agreement was in violation with international law, since Western Sahara is not part of Morocco, and the people of the territory have never approved the fisheries. In addition, an external evaluation report showed that the agreement was a complete waste of EU’s taxpayers money, and contributed to destruction of marine life offshore Western Sahara.

Commissioner Damanaki states that the new agreement will include legal, environmental and economical guarantees to accommodate Parliament’s and Council’s concerns. The Commissioner proposes that Morocco should comply with international law by reporting regularly on its use of EU funds for the population concerned, including the people of Western Sahara.

According to the UN Legal Opinion of 2002, economic activities in Western Sahara can only be considered lawful if the Saharawi people are consulted, consent to and benefit from those activities. Yet again, the European Commission does not exhibit any interest in the Saharawi people’s wishes.

The Commissioner has already resumed informal contacts with Rabat.

Spain pushing for new agreement

tn_demo_oslo13_509.jpgSpain has been advocating a new protocol with Morocco relentlessly. Under the previous protocol, the country received no less than 100 of 119 available fishing licenses. The Parliament’s veto in December resulted in 64 Spanish ships, mainly from Andalusia and Canary Islands, having to leave Saharan and Moroccan waters.

Almost immediately after taking office, the newly appointed Spanish Fisheries Minister, Miguel Arias Cañete, met with EU Commissioner Damanaki to urge her to strike a deal with Morocco as quickly as possible. Cañete also thinks the European Union should compensate Spain for losing fishing possibilities in Morocco – a cost he estimates at around 15 to 16 million Euro.

The Spanish Minister avoids all questions about Western Sahara, Spain's former colony. He has stated that he expects the EU to be flexible enough to allow Morocco to accept a deal as quickly as possible. Cañete warned that "the Spanish government will not spare any effort to ensure that the accidents that have occurred in European Parliament will not be repeated."


15.10 - 2019 / 15.10 - 2019THIS PAGE IS NO LONGER UPDATED
23.10 - 2015 / 23.10 - 2015Morocco continues to discard by-catches in occupied Western Sahara
29.06 - 2015 / 29.06 - 2015Moroccan government accused of fraud with EU anti-driftnet money
02.12 - 2014 / 02.12 - 2014Maria Damanaki opposed continued EU fishing in Western Sahara
18.09 - 2014 / 18.09 - 2014EU-Morocco fish deal: who's shown an interest so far?
18.09 - 2014 / 18.09 - 2014Dutch first to fish under unethical EU-Morocco fish deal
09.08 - 2014 / 09.08 - 2014UN former legal chief slams EU legal view as "preposterous"
21.07 - 2014 / 21.07 - 2014Illegal EU fish agreement with Morocco now ratified by King
14.03 - 2014 / 14.03 - 20149 detained, threats of jail if demonstrating against EU fisheries
11.02 - 2014 / 11.02 - 2014Here are the EU states that will benefit from the dirty fisheries
11.02 - 2014 / 11.02 - 2014Morocco adopts contentious EU-Morocco fish deal
10.12 - 2013 / 10.12 - 2013Occupied Sahara: EU undermining Human Rights on Human Rights Day
08.12 - 2013 / 08.12 - 2013More vids of demonstration and victims of EU/Moroccan plans in Sahara
08.12 - 2013 / 08.12 - 2013Western Sahara president asks UN intervention to stop EU and Morocco
08.12 - 2013 / 08.12 - 2013Many injured in protest against EU/Spain fish plans in Western Sahara
05.12 - 2013 / 05.12 - 2013EU fish plans illegal, 21 jurists and lawyers state
05.12 - 2013 / 05.12 - 2013267 organisations ask European Parliament to reject fish accord
04.12 - 2013 / 04.12 - 2013President of African Parliament calls on EU to respect Sahara rights
02.12 - 2013 / 02.12 - 2013Greenpeace: EU parliament must vote no to Western Sahara fisheries
18.11 - 2013 / 18.11 - 2013European Liberal Youth calls for no EU fishing in occupied Sahara


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.
عريضة لوقف النهب


يحضر الاتحاد الاوربي لإبرام اتفاق غير اخلاقي جديد للصيد البحري مع المغرب في سنة 2013.

مرة اخرى، يعتزم الاتحاد الاوربي الصيد في المياه الاقليمية للصحراء الغربية المحتلة في خرق سافر للقانون الدولي. وقع هذه العريضة للتنديد بذلك.

"EU fisheries in Western Sahara must be stopped"

Western Sahara human rights activist Aminatou Haidar hopes for increased attention to the EU plundering of occupied Western Sahara.


10.04 - 2012
Guardian: EU taking its over-fishing habits to west African waters?
15.12 - 2011
EU Observer: Morocco expels EU fishing boats
15.12 - 2011
BBC News: Morocco's fish fight: High stakes over Western Sahara
15.12 - 2011
European Voice: MEPs reject EU-Morocco fisheries pact
15.12 - 2011
Reuters: EU lawmakers reject Morocco fisheries pact

Human rights activist Malak Amidane denounces EU fisheries