Portuguese Fishermen’s Association Speaks out against EU Court Ruling on Canceling Fisheries Agreement with Morocco

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The Portuguese Fishermen’s Association has criticized the European Union Court ruling on canceling the fisheries agreement with Morocco.

 According to the Portuguese fishermen, the cancellation of the fisheries agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, taken last Wednesday, will further disrupt the European fishing fleet.

“In the current time, if the cancellation, suspended for two months, comes into effect, Portugal will lose access to 2,060 tons of pelagic species, 14 longline licenses in the artisanal fishery and 4 in the demersal category,” the association pointed out. 

The Portuguese fishermen noted that “with the creation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the European fishing fleets, including the Portuguese, lost the right to work within 200 nautical miles of the coasts of non-members countries. As a result, they lose access to the fishing grounds that they already used, and which, at least, were part of their fishing history”.

The statement noted that “the only mechanisms available to European fleets to continue operating in EEZ’s non-members’ countries are the fisheries agreements, now called Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs), which the EU is slow to negotiate, imposing conditions or obligations on its competitors, and often lets them expire without renewal.”

The source mentioned that the decision of the European Union Court unfortunately weakens the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements as an alternative for European fishermen.

“Apart from the loss of fishing opportunities, which are nowadays used for exchanges to reinforce and strengthen national quotas in other fishing areas, the end of the agreement with Morocco would force the relocation of several Spanish vessels to the waters of the Iberian Peninsula, among the factors of putting upward pressure on the region’s resources, which would negatively affect the Portuguese fishery,” the Association of Portuguese Fishermen affirmed in a statement. 

By Nouhaila El Bouhli

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