Fisheries: EU initials extension of the fisheries protocol with Morocco
The European Commission has initialled a 12-month extension of the protocol under the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) with Morocco. The level of fishing opportunities for EU vessels and the corresponding financial contribution to Morocco will remain the same as in the 2007 protocol, which expired on February 27, 2011. This one year period will be used to asses the data and information obtained from the Moroccan authorities about the regional impacts of the protocol and to define next steps.
The EU has had fisheries agreements with Morocco since the 1990s and the current Fisheries Partnership Agreement has been in force since 2007.
The current FPA is utilised by vessels from 11 Member States.
The level of fishing opportunities under this protocol involves licences for a maximum of 119 vessels.
The financial contribution paid by the EU amounts to 36.1 million €/year, of which 13.5 million € is aimed at supporting the development of the Moroccan fisheries sector (modernisation of the fleet, abolition of driftnets, research, port management, training, etc.).
In addition, vessel owners pay licence fees to have access to Moroccan waters.
The current protocol expired on 27 February 2011.
However, due to the initialling of the new 1-year protocol, current fishing activities may continue in Moroccan waters, subject to requests for licences and payment of licence fees by ship owners (Article 9 of Council Regulation No 1006/2006 concerning the authorisation for fishing activities of Community fishing vessels outside Community waters and the access of third country vessels to Community waters). This arrangement is applicable for a maximum of six months, and pending the provisional application of the new initialled protocol and agreement of Morocco to grant the licences requested according to the provisions of the protocol.
As soon as the provisional application has been decided by Council, the new protocol will retroactively cover the period from 28 February 2011, thereby ensuring continuity between the current and the new protocol.