The European Parliament rejects to extend the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement

MEPs rejected to prolong until February 2012 the current EU-Morocco fisheries agreement and they called for a more environmentally and economically beneficial deal, which should take account of the interests of the Sahrawi population. The current protocol, which has applied provisionally since 28 February 2011, will cease to apply immediately.

MEPs rejected to extend until February 2012 the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement in line with the report drafted by the MEP Carl Haglund, which called on Parliament not to extend the current arrangements, mainly for economic, ecological and legal reasons. According to Mr Haglund, the one-year extension of the current protocol was unacceptable under the terms proposed by the European Commission because of its low cost-benefit ratio for the EU, the excessive exploitation of demersal stocks, the very limited contribution of EU funds to the development of local fisheries policy and the lack of proof that EU money benefits the local population of Western Sahara. The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy presented by the Commission, has already foreseen to introduce a decentralised approach to science-based fisheries management by region and sea basin, and introduce better governance standards in the EU and on the international level through sustainable fisheries agreements.

Therefore, MEPs expect that the Commission to advance negotiations on a new protocol so as to avoid any provisional application in the future. They ask to the Commission to negotiate a new agreement more economical, ecological and social sustainable and mutual beneficial. Furthermore, they also call on the Commission to ensure that a new protocol fully respects international law and benefits all affected local populations, including the Sahrawi people.

The European Parliament also underlined that in the future, the allocation of fishing opportunities should be based on scientific advice and EU vessels should be allowed to fish only surplus stocks. Financial support for the development of local fisheries must be used properly and more efficiently while monitoring of where the money goes must be improved.