Talks between Morocco and the European Union over fishing rights in Moroccan waters are set to resume at the end of the month, with both sides indicating an agreement may be near that would end the nearly year-long ban on European trawlers.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Benaissa, in Madrid last week, said he
hoped that an agreement could be reached soon.
Morocco declined to renew the fisheries accord with the European Union that
Expired on November 30, 1999. Since then, Morocco has prohibited entry into its
waters of the nearly 600 European trawlers, mainly Spanish and Portuguese, that
used to operate there.
Morocco had told the EU that the two sides should seek a new partnership that would preserve the Kingdom's sea resources, while continuing to give the Europeans access.
Moroccan officials have called on a "new partnership" between Moroccan and
European fishing interests. Specifically, they want an accord that will
encourage joint European-Moroccan ventures in fisheries-related
sectors such as shipyards, ships maintenance, and fish-farming.
Benaissa said the EU must take into account the new situation of the Moroccan fisheries industry, noting that his country's current five year plan aims to greatly develop the fishing sector.
Talks between the sides were held in July in Rabat. After those meetings,
the Moroccan side said there were still serious differences, but that talks
According to a Spanish study made public in mid-August, the catches of the Spanish fleet that used to operate in Moroccan waters amounted to nearly
200,000 tons a year. –(Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )