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Relief for the fishing sector with the entry into force of the new fisheries agreement between the European Union (EU) and Morocco.

Fisheries sector celebrates entry into force of EU-Morocco agreement

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Friday, July 19, 2019, 21:10 (GMT + 9)

The Spanish Confederation of Fisheries (CEPESCA) has described as a relief for the fishing sector the announcement of the entry into force of the new fishing agreement between the European Union (EU) and Morocco, after its final ratification yesterday, July 18, by part of the Kingdom of Morocco, after a year of negotiations.

The new agreement contemplates fishing possibilities for a total of 138 EU vessels and is of great interest to the Spanish fleet, which can access 92 licenses. So far, the sector has completed 70 applications for boats from Andalusia, Canary Islands and Galicia, which are scheduled to return to work within the framework of the agreement, starting this Monday, July 22.

Pelagic purse seiner with Triplex system and RSW unloading, with vacuum pumps and separator, in the port of Dahkla.

Regarding the fishing possibilities, the agreement contemplates the modalities of purse seine, bottom and trawl longline, as well as the purse seine and pole-and-line fleet targeting tuna. The 92 licenses available to the Spanish fleet include fishing opportunities for 22 purse seiners and 25 artisanal bottom longliners in the north, 10 artisanal fishing boats in the south, 12 demersal fishing vessels and 23 tuna pole-and-line vessels.

CEPESCA also welcomes the improvements established during the meeting in Rabat of the Joint EU-Morocco Commission, which ended yesterday and which has set, among other points, the number of Moroccan crewmembers to embark on EU vessels. Besides, certain conditions have been improved, which will contribute to a more efficient operation of the vessels, such as greater flexibility in relation to the landing obligation in Moroccan ports and the maintenance of the fees for access to the fishing ground.

In this sense, the protocol of the agreement, which has a duration of four years, establishes an economic counterpart of EUR 50 million per year, including sectoral support and the shipowners' fee, of around EUR 12 million.

"The Spanish and EU fishing sector breathes easier after the final approval of the entry into force of this fisheries agreement, essential for communities highly dependent on fishing," said Javier Garat, Secretary General of CEPESCA and President of Europêche. "The conditions of the new agreement are also a guarantee of sustainable fishing in this fishing ground, one of the richest in the world, since it includes the best scientific advice, as well as the management plans established by the RFMO," he added.

Following the entry into force of the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, the fishing sector is focusing its attention on the negotiations of the EU agreements with Mauritania and Senegal, which are also fundamental for the fleet and which expire on 15 and 19 June November, respectively.


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