The European Commission has adopted a recommendation that aims at obtaining authorisation from the Council to open negotiations for the conclusion of a new fisheries protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco. The current, 4-year protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco will expire on 14 July 2018.
In 2017, both the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella and the Moroccan Minister for Agriculture and Sea Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch expressed their intention to renew this instrument which is essential for both parties.
An independent evaluation study underlines the positive impact of the current protocol in terms of sustainable fishing and its contribution to the socioeconomic interests of the fisheries sectors both in the EU and in Morocco. In particular the sectoral support foreseen by the protocol, as support to the national Halieutis Strategy for the development of the fisheries sector, has benefited all regions covered by the protocol. The evaluation also highlights the clauses supporting economic development and benefiting local population, such as landings in ports and embarkation of local seamen (about 200 seamen being employed on board EU vessels).
It is expected that the Council endorses the recommendation in the coming weeks so that negotiations can start immediately afterwards to ensure continuity and legal security for fishermen and industry at the expiry of the current protocol. About 120 vessels from 11 EU countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, The Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and United Kingdom) are concerned.
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