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EU Council Mandates European Commission to Negotiate New Fisheries Agreement with Morocco

Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries of the 28 member States of the European Union, meeting within the EU Council Monday in Brussels, have given a mandate to the European Commission to negotiate a new fisheries agreement with Morocco, said European sources.

The Council adopted this mandate unanimously by its members, an EU spokesperson told MAP.

A recently published retrospective and prospective evaluation report of the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement recommended that the European Commission renew this agreement as it was "effective in achieving its objective of sustainable exploitation".

The report considered that the fisheries agreement has also achieved its goal of supporting the sustainable development of the sector.

It also noted 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% of the total amount of sectoral support, approximately 37 million Euros.

As regards the economic benefits for the EU, the report mentioned a good return on investment for the Union and emphasized its relevance to the needs of the EU.

The report sent to the European Council and Parliament urged the renewal of the fisheries agreement, which will expire in July 2018, as it represents "an instrument for in-depth cooperation with Morocco, which is heavily involved in South-South cooperation" and to "complement its actions in favor of the sustainability of stocks within regional fisheries organizations".

The fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU entered into force in 2014 for a 4-year period. It gives European vessels access to the Kingdom's Atlantic fishing zone in exchange for a yearly financial contribution of 30 million Euros granted by the EU in addition to 10 million Euros as ship-owners contribution.