Rabat – The European Union’s Council of Ministers has approved the EU Parliament’s conclusion of the fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU.
The council of Ministers met today in Brussels to adopt the implementation of the agreement’s protocol and the exchange of letters accompanying the agreement.
According to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the adoption offers a formal point of view on the agreement, which was approved by the European Parliament on February 12.
The agreement now has to be ratified and adopted by the Moroccan government and legislative bodies.
Quoting a statement from the EU council, MAP said that the four-year deal allocates fishing opportunities to the EU in exchange for €208 million from the EU.
The statement added that Morocco will spend a large portion of the funds to promote the sustainable development of fishing in Morocco, including its southern provinces.
The EU council also noted that the objective of the agreement is to enable the EU and Morocco to work more closely together to promote a sustainable fisheries policy and the responsible use of fishing.
The statement by the council also recalled the negotiations between the EU and Morocco, emphasizing that the European Commission has assessed the deal’s potential impact on sustainable development, especially with regard to the benefits for the populations concerned and the use of the natural resources of the southern provinces.
The council emphasized that the fisheries agreement “should be of great benefit to the populations concerned, because of the positive socio-economic benefits for these populations, particularly in terms of employment, and investments.”
The agreement, added the council, represents the best “guarantee for the sustainable use of the natural resources of waters adjacent” to the southern provinces of Morocco.
On February 12, Morocco’s Minister of Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch said that “the population of the southern provinces has played a remarkable role in this process by expressing its voice and contributing in a committed way to defending its interests and rights as Moroccan citizens of the southern provinces.”
Akhannouch commented that thousands of people in the southern provinces work in the fisheries sector.
The agreement covers the fishing area from parallel 35 to parallel 22, from Cap Spartel in northern Morocco to Cap Blanc in southern Morocco, including the waters off Western Sahara.