EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki has now initialled four year Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) with the Moroccan Minister for Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries, Mr Aziz Akhannouch.
The protocol is consistent with the reform of the external dimension of the EU Common Fisheries Policy in that it places a strong emphasis on scientific advice, economic profitability, good governance and respect of international law. Sustainability is ensured by restricting fishing activity to the surplus resources in all fisheries.
Commissioner Damanaki stated: "This is an important moment for EU and Moroccan fisheries. This deal will ensure a sustainable future for the sector locally and it represents good value for money. The new protocol is in line with the principles of the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy, by ensuring responsible international fisheries governance."
A large number of Member States (Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and United Kingdom) have an interest in the FPA with Morocco, which includes six fishing categories exploited by both industrial and small-scale fleet segments.
The total financial envelope for Morocco is estimated at €40 million. More precisely, the total cost of the new Protocol to the EU will be €30 million a year, of which €16 million compensates Morocco for access to the resource. The remaining €14 million will be assigned to the support of the fisheries sector in the country whilst the ship owners' contribution is estimated at €10 million.
The Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Arias Cañete, said that the Spanish government is satisfied with the conclusion of the negotiation of an agreement.
After nine months of negotiations, the agreement will allow Spanish fishing vessels to return to Moroccan waters.
The minister stated that the agreement represents an improvement over the previous protocol as fishing opportunities have been increased, impacting positively on the profitability of the fleet.
For more information on how the agreement will benefit Spanish fishermen, please click here.