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Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment Isabel García Tejerina. (Photo: Magrama)

Ministers Council to ratify permit to start fishing talks with Morocco

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Monday, April 16, 2018, 23:20 (GMT + 9)

The Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries of the European Union today in Luxembourg plans to approve the negotiating mandate of the fisheries agreement with Morocco.

The first official round of negotiations would take place in Rabat between April 18 and 22.

In statements to the media at the entrance of the Council, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment Isabel García Tejerina expressed her trust that the negotiations of this agreement can be concluded before July 14, 2018, the date on which the current agreement expires, and thus give continuity to the activity of the fleet in Moroccan waters.

García Tejerina stressed that the Government considers it "tremendously important" to continue the validity of this agreement, of great value to a large sector of the Spanish fleet, mainly Galicia, Andalusia and the Canary Islands. For this reason, she said that they will help the Commission "so that the approval of this agreement is not delayed", and it can enter into force before the previous agreement expires.

In addition, she noted that this mandate and the negotiations will take into account the ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU on the implementation of the agreement in the waters of Western Sahara.

On the other hand, she informed that the Council will today analyze the multi-annual plan for western waters. This point is of great relevance for Spain, since proper management of certain species in these waters is essential when negotiating TACs and quotas at the end of the year. As indicated, Spain will urge the Commission to approve this plan, as well as request differentiated treatment between northwest and southwestern waters, "because their characteristics are different."

In addition, the Spanish minister will remind the Commission of the enormous concern in many countries of the EU with the landing obligation and the end of discards as of January 1, 2019.

Spain has been explaining for some time that the solutions proposed so far "have generated enormous concern", since certain fishing activities can be paralyzed, due to the obligation to land smaller species, and not for that fundamental species of the activity of the boats. The minister assured that she will ask the Commission to present new proposals to make this landing obligation more flexible.

Related articles:

- Spanish Govt advocates negotiating EU-Morocco fishing agreement as soon as possible
- Brussels proposes EU-Morocco fisheries partnership agreement amendment
- CJEU validates fisheries agreement with Morocco, but excludes Western Sahara

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