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Constitution of the EU-Moroccan Mixed Commission of Fisheries Professionals, in Dakhla, Morocco. (Photo: CEPESCA)

Euro-Moroccan commission relies on favorable ruling by CJEU on EU-Morocco fishing agreement

Monday, February 19, 2018, 21:50 (GMT + 9)

The EU-Moroccan Mixed Commission of Fisheries Professionals has warned of the damage and the negative socio-economic impact that an unfavorable resolution of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) would have on both parties in relation to the current fishing protocol between the European Union and Morocco.

This protocol, in force from July 15, 2014, ends on July 14, and the CJEU is expected to rule on it on February 27.

The new commission is the successor to the one created in 2011 between fishing professionals from Spain and Morocco, and its creation was formalized last Friday in Dakhla. In this Moroccan city, representatives of the fishing sector of Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Poland and Lithuania with interests in the Moroccan fishing ground, agreed that the current EU-Morocco fishing agreement, not only guarantees the respect of international law and human rights, but it also has been and is beneficial for both parties, and asks the CJEU to be consistent.

Likewise, the Mixed Commission wants to let know that an unfavorable resolution would have serious consequences in the relations between Europe and Morocco beyond the fishing sector. According to the Mixed Commission, an unfavorable resolution would only serve to undermine the social impact, the result of good relations between the Halawi kingdom and Europe, as well as the economic development that implies, as they have found the members of the Mixed Commission "in situ", in the city of Dakhla.

The agreement also affects the Canary Islands, which because of their status as an ultra-peripheral region of the EU, benefit from special considerations in all EU trade agreements that affect them.

In this regard, the Mixed Commission recalls that the Fisheries Agreement (prior to the protocol) entered into force in February 2007, one year before Morocco's accession to the Advanced Statute. This Statute provides, among other objectives, the revitalization of fisheries management in a framework of EU-Morocco cooperation, which has allowed the European Commission to continuously monitor the application of the fishing protocol and the evaluation subject to the EC report, confirms its strict application.

According to this report, each euro invested by the EU, within the framework of the protocol, generates EUR 2.78 of added value for the EU fishing sector. And as the Mixed Commission has highlighted, it is also highly beneficial for the Moroccan fishing sector. This sector generates 2 percent of the Moroccan GDP, with fishery products representing 9 percent of its exports.

The representatives of the Mixed Commission maintain that beyond the economic benefits, the agreement is also positive from the social and environmental point of view. It also has a direct influence on the development, both of infrastructures -portuaries, processing, storage and transport-, as well as of scientific and technological activities aimed at guaranteeing the sustainability of the fishing resources of one of the healthiest and most productive fishing grounds in the world. planet.

"This agreement has proven to be effective for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources, it is vital for the activity of up to 126 European vessels and, quite contrary to what certain pressure groups with clear political interests wield, is clearly beneficial for the development socio-economic population of different provinces of Morocco," says Javier Garat, general secretary of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA) and co-chair of the EU-Morocco Mixed Commission of Fisheries Professionals.

On his part, the president of the Federation of Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture of Morocco (FMPA) and co-chair of the Mixed Commission, Omar Akouri, points out: "The EU Attorney General is not aware of the harm that an unfavorable resolution can suppose for the good relations that Morocco and the EU have built for many years. An unfavorable opinion would create a paradox for Europe and would seriously damage the social fabric of the southern regions of Morocco, which is precisely what the denunciation of the agreement defends. "

The current protocol (2014-2018) of the EU-Morocco fishing agreement allows a maximum of 126 fishing boats, 90 Spaniards, to fish in the Moroccan fishing ground. Of those 90 possible licenses, Spain has made use in this period of 67 licenses. In 2017, 49 licenses were used by Spain: 32 by Andalusian boats, 12 Canaries and 5 Galicians. The Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland and Germany have, on the other hand, 18 licenses.

In Morocco, the agreement, between 2014 and 2018, generated 700 jobs for crewmembers, 200 of them Moroccans on community vessels, and around 3,500 jobs on the ground. It should be remembered that, in these regions, fishing accounts for 40,000 jobs, adding direct and indirect employment.

Related article:

- EU-Morocco fisheries agreement should be declared invalid, according to legal adviser

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