Following massive oil spill, Morocco assists Spanish fishermen

Published December 23rd, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Spanish fishermen from a region devastated by a massive oil spill will be permitted to use Moroccan waters from January 15 for at least three months, the two countries announced on Monday.  

 

The Moroccan offer covered 64 fishing boats and the three-month period will be renewable, government officials said.  

 

Last month's sinking of the oil tanker Prestige off Spain's northwest coast has deeply devastated rich fishing and shellfish grounds and put thousands of people in fishing-related industries out of work in Galicia.  

 

Rabat offered Spain's fishermen access to its waters earlier this month, but had not specified the period or number of ships.  

 

Spanish Fisheries Minister Miguel Arias Canete met with his Moroccan counterpart Mohamed Taieb Rhafes and Minister-Delegate to Foreign Affairs Taieb Fassi Fihri to finalize the decision, according to SPA news agency.  

 

"We have allowed Spanish authorities to freely choose a date and they decided it will be January 15," Fihri told reporters.  

 

Rhafes did not say which areas along Morocco's 2,000 kilometer Atlantic coast were covered by the deal. Whether the three-month period is renewed will depend on how fast the situation improves in the devastated area, he added.  

 

"This is not humanitarian aid but the expression of solidarity with our friends," he conveyed.  

 

Canete, for his part, thanked the Moroccan authorities, which exempted Galician fishermen from all duties and set no control over their catches. "The Spanish people highly appreciate the king's decision," he said. (Albawaba.com) 

© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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