EU and Morocco seek to extend fisheries protocol

Morocco and the European Union are seeking continuity of fisheries partnership as the four-year fisheries protocol agreed by the two parties will soon expire.

The two sides will continue scientific cooperation with the “common objective of ensuring the sustainability” of fisheries resources in the region, read a joint statement following an assessment in Brussels of the current fisheries protocol on Thursday, the official news agency MAP reported.

The deal, formally known as the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement, entered into force on Feb. 28, 2007 with an effective period of four years. It has been renewed three times.

The EU Court of Justice annulled the latest renewal of the fisheries deal in 2021 on the ground that “the deal is not applicable to Western Sahara and to its adjacent waters.”

Western Sahara is claimed by Morocco, but the Algeria-based Polisario Front has been fighting for its independence.

The European Commission had appealed the verdict, vowing to act to ensure continuity of bilateral trade. A final decision has yet to be made and the fisheries deal will expire on July 17. ■

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