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New EU-Morocco Fisheries Protocol signed today

The European Commission has today signed a new Fisheries Protocol with Morocco, which will allow EU vessels to resume fishing in the waters of occupied Western Sahara.
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Photo: European Commissioner for Fisheries Maria Damanaki and Moroccan Minister for Fisheries Aziz Ackannouch seal the deal.

While all of Brussels is silent due to summer recess, the European Commission chose to push forward the contentious negotiations with Morocco to obtain a new fish deal.

The new Protocol has been reached after months of deadlock over the issue of Western Sahara, as the EU's insistence on including a human rights clause clashed with Morocco's untenable idea of sovereignty over the territory it illegally occupies since 1975.

Though not yet disclosed, the Protocol is said to include a human rights clause and some language regarding the use of Western Saharan resources.

At the time of writing, it was not yet clear whether Morocco has accepted the EU's proposal to provisionally apply the agreement, whereby vessels could immediately start fishing pending Council's approval. Up to yesterday, Morocco demonstrated stark opposition to the idea, wanting to avoid at all cost a repetition of the December 2011 scenario. Back then, the European Parliament revoked the previous Fisheries Protocol causing EU fishing vessels to withdraw, following concerns on the Protocol's economic viability, ecological sustainability and compliance with international law in its treatment of Western Sahara.

"I can be optimistic, and I hope the European Parliament can understand the difference from the previous one," said Maria Damanaki, the European commissioner for maritime affairs. "There has to be respect for international law so the local population has to get the profit of the agreement we signed," she added.

The European Commission has however not sought the consent of the Saharawi people on the deal which will profoundly impact the fish stocks in their occupied country's waters.

The Frente Polisario, the internationally recognised political representation of the Saharawi people, has condemned the new Protocol. "This attempt to legitimize the theft of Western Sahara's natural resources detracts from the ongoing efforts by the United Nations to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing occupation of Western Sahara. Nor will the ineffective human rights provision in the new Protocol help the situation of the Saharawi people, who continue to be oppressed on a daily basis by the forces of Moroccan occupation", said Mohamed Sidati, Polisario's Representative to the EU.

Under the newly agreed Protocol, Morocco accords greater catch volumes in return for a larger annual fee; 40 million, up from the 36,1 million granted under the previous deal. In addition, vessel-owners are to pay a bigger fee in order to access the waters.

The Protocol still requires acceptance by the EU Member States and the European Parliament.



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