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European Fishing Vessels Back in Moroccan Waters

Lucy Towers
17 September 2014, at 1:00am

EU - After a break of more than 2.5 years, European fishing boats can again take up their fishing activities in Moroccan waters. A new four-year protocol of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) entered into force on 15 July, after which the Moroccan authorities have started to issue licences that allow European vessels to return to Moroccan waters.

“This is a key moment for our fishermen, who have been waiting for this agreement to come into force since December 2011. After the rapid ratification on the EU side, the European Commission now welcomes Morocco’s green light for the licences which allow European vessels to return to Moroccan waters," said Helene Banner, European Commission Spokesperson for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

She added: “This new protocol is also an example for the EU’s approach of responsible international fisheries governance: by ensuring that European vessels do not compete with local fishermen and by allowing EU fishing rights that do not exceed the scientifically sound limit, we want to promote sustainable fisheries. The EU also provides targeted sectoral support to help build a sustainable future for Moroccan fisheries.”

The EU so far received and submitted to the Moroccan authorities 65 licence applications from five EU Member States: Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Latvia, and Lithuania. Other Member States (Germany, Ireland, Poland, United Kingdom, Italy) might also ask for licences in the future, since they benefit from fishing opportunities in this Protocol.

To date, the Moroccan authorities have issued 58 licences, and are expected to proceed with the remaining ones in the coming days.