Spain has urged the European commission to work together with Morocco in view of securing a new fisheries deal as soon as possible.
The deal expires on July 17 and there seems little enthusiasm for its renewal in Morocco after a European Court annulled it in 2021 because it covers Sahara waters.
Spain’s agriculture minister Luis Planas called on the EU to “continue to work with Morocco for a renewal of the deal as soon as possible before the current agreement expires.”
Yet, for observers the deal would not be renewed before a verdict of the court following an appeals by the European commission.
The deal has been renewed since 1988. But in 2015, Algerian proxies defending the Polisario have been challenging the commercial and fisheries agreements with Morocco.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI had said that the country will not engage in any economic step that does not cover all its territories including the Sahara, expressing a firm stand that Rabat will not compromise on its territorial integrity and economic sovereignty.
Moroccan fisheries operators are not supportive of such a deal either. Morocco receives in return for letting 128 EU vessels fish in its waters 208 million euros only, most of it is directed to developing the fisheries sector.
In contrast, it exports 2.5 billion dollars of fisheries products to the EU market.
“I have never supported the idea of a fisheries deal between Morocco and the EU,” said Hassan Sentissi EL Idrissi, head of fisheries industry federation.
He urged Morocco to raise the bar by asking for a higher EU contribution and reducing the number of EU vessels.
Russia, Japan and the UK are also interested parties in fisheries deals with Morocco.
The UK’s justice system has dealt a blow to Algerian proxies, when a British court rejected irrevocably a challenge by pro-polisario Western Sahara Campaign (WSC) to the association agreement with Morocco.
The verdict, which reduced the Polisario to its size as an Algerian puppet that has no right to claim representativeness of the Sahara people, should serve as an example to the European Court of Justice.