European Union Pleased by Fisheries Agreement with Morocco

Rabat – The EU fisheries agreement with Morocco is bearing fruit. According to recent report by the European Executive, 75 percent of the socio-economic impacts of this agreement are mainly to the benefit of the Moroccan southern regions.The European Union (EU) is “pleased” with the socio-economic benefits of its fisheries agreement with Morocco, reads a report prepared by the Directorate of Maritime Affairs to the European executive.Recently submitted to the EU Council and the European Parliament, the evaluating report on the Protocol to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco considers that the agreement has proved “effective in achieving its objective of sustainability of exploitation.” According to the report, the fisheries agreement has also achieved its objective of supporting the sustainable development of the sector, mainly due to the implementation of Halieutis strategy projects and the signing of nearly 1,000 boarding contracts with Moroccan sailors with European fishing vessels.The document also notes that the implementation of the sectoral support of the fisheries agreement is proceeding at “a very satisfactory pace,” recalling that the regions of Dakhla-Oued Eddahab and Laayoune-Boujour-Sakia El Hamra account for 66 percent of the total budget at approximately USD 37 million.According to the report, the first estimates of the socio-economic benefits of this agreement already show the creation of 180 direct jobs and the improvement of the working conditions of about 59,000 people working in the sector or its related activities, stating that 75 percent of the socio-economic impacts are for the benefit of the Moroccan southern provinces.As regards the economic benefits for the EU, the report mentions a good return on investment for the Union, which means that every euro invested is estimated to support the creation of EUR 2.78 of total added value for the European fisheries sector, compared to EUR 0.65 in 2010.The European Assessment Report further notes that the agreement is relevant to the needs of the EU in that it complements a network of agreements covering the range of small pelagic species in Africa as well as the existing tuna agreements, while meeting the fishing needs of the operators.The document also stresses the coherence of the agreement with other EU initiatives in that it ensures complementarity between sectoral support and the “Succeeding the Advanced Status” program.The EU’s reports also recommended the renewal of this agreement, which will expire in July 2018, as “an instrument of in-depth cooperation with Morocco, strongly involved in South-South partnership” and to enable “the achievement of its actions in favor of the sustainability of stocks within regional fisheries organizations.”During his last visit to the kingdom on the occasion of his participation in Halieutis, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs, and Fisheries had stressed the EU’s willingness to maintain its cooperation with Morocco in this area and give it new momentum.The current fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU entered into force in 2014 for a period of four years. It gives European vessels access to the kingdom’s Atlantic fishing zone in exchange for a financial contribution of EUR 30 million per year, financed by the EU and a contribution by shipowners of EUR 10 million.The first fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU dates back to 1988.