Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, Luis Planas Puchades, stressed on July 14, in Cordoba, that his country “supports the new fisheries protocol concluded between Morocco and the European Union (EU) for the upcoming four years.”
In a statement to Spanish media, Planas underlined that “Spain’s position is unequivocal” on this subject, describing the 5th session of the Joint Commission responsible for monitoring the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between Morocco and the European Union as “positive and fruitful.”
“Work will continue, particularly on research and technical issues, to ensure progress and allow us to conclude the new protocol as quickly as possible,” added the Spanish official.
Planas noted that “the agreement’s structural support measures were successful” and that “scientific and technical research is ongoing with a view to the future of the agreement,” expressing his “optimism” and hopes that “the standstill period is short-lived.”
A joint communiqué, issued on July 13, in Brussels, following the 5th session of the Joint Commission in charge of monitoring the Agreement, underlined that Morocco and the EU have agreed to continue their cooperation as provided for in the Partnership Agreement in the field of sustainable fisheries to boost partnership on essential areas, such as scientific campaigns, technical cooperation, the fight against illegal fishing, operators’ economic integration, safety at sea, and the improvement of working conditions and protection of seafarers.
On this occasion, the European Union (EU) emphasized that relations with Morocco in the fisheries sector “are part of a comprehensive and mutually beneficial partnership, which establishes Morocco and the European Union (EU) as strategic partners for stability, development, and prosperity in the region.”
The EU also reiterated “the great importance” it attaches to its fisheries partnership with Morocco and “the fundamental interest” it accords to pursuing this partnership “based on trust, solidarity, and mutual benefit.”
For its part, the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA) stressed that the Sustainable Fishing Agreement between Morocco and the EU is of “historic importance” for relations between Morocco, Spain, and the EU.
In a press release, CEPESCA stated that it “regrets the end of the fishing protocol” between Morocco and the EU, which expired on July 17, highlighting the importance of this agreement for the Spanish fishing sector due to “its high value and importance in the history of relations between the EU and Spain with Morocco.”
“Fishing relations between the two countries date back to the 1950s before responsibilities were taken over by the EU when Spain joined in 1986,” recalled the Confederation, adding that “agreements between the two parties have been constantly renewed.”
CEPESCA’s Secretary-General, Javier Garat, underlined that “the expiry of the EU-Morocco Fishing Protocol equals further restriction on the fishing activity of the Spanish fleet.”
“This is a major problem for the companies and sailors of the Andalusian, Galician, and Canary fleets,” emphasized Garat, calling on EU negotiators to work “as quickly as possible to define the technical conditions guiding the renewal of the fishing protocol.”