Rabat – Spain has positioned itself among EU countries to lend greater support for the proposal adopted by the European Commission to negotiate a new fisheries protocol with Morocco.
The Spanish daily La Opinion reported this week that Spain seeks to move the renegotiation process forward “as soon as possible” in order to avoid any period of suspension that could have negative consequences for the fishing sector and the workers who benefit from this important economic activity.
“The Government of Spain supports that negotiations with Morocco begin as soon as possible to ensure the interest of our fleet in the Atlantic waters of Morocco to avoid any possible suspension of activity,” Fisheries, Food and the Environment Minister Isabel García Tejerina said during recent senate discussions on the issue.
The head of the Department of Fisheries also added that Spanish authorities maintain a “constant dialogue” with the relevant industry agencies and the affected autonomous communities that work with both the European Union and Morocco to “closely monitor” the country’s fleet, in compliance with the relevant components of the international law.
The minister pointed out that the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA), in which the waters of Western Sahara are not included, continues to remain in effect until July 14 following its recent validation by the EU Court of Justice in February.
The Spanish official explained that in order to renew the agreement and adapt it to the provisions of the recent ruling of the EU court, a negotiation mandate will be discussed in the Fisheries Group of the Council of the European Union. Any new mandate or protocol will then be taken to the Council of Fisheries Ministers (AGRIPECHE) next week for its approval, providing a
green light for EU negotiations with Moroccan officials on the new terms of the Fisheries Agreement.
“We want to reconcile our neighbourly relations with Morocco, with the important mutual benefit of the Agreement for our respective fishing sectors,” Tejerina said.