The European Commission Tuesday welcomed Morocco's ratification of a Fisheries Protocol which is set to open the door for European vessels to go back fishing in Moroccan waters after a pause of more than two years. The European Union and Morocco had concluded the 4-year fisheries deal in December 2013, however its entry into force was pending ratification by Morocco. Now that both sides have concluded their ratification procedure, EU vessels will receive certain fishing rights in Moroccan waters in return for financial assistance by the EU to develop or, said the EU's executive body in a statement.
Up to 120 vessels from 11 EU countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and United Kingdom) are concerned by the new protocol. The fishing possibilities have been increased and will now total 80,000 tonnes. In total, 6 fishing categories exploited by both industrial and small-scale fleet segments are covered by the protocol.
The total cost to the EU will be 30 million euro a year, of which 16 million euro compensates Morocco for access to the resource and 14 million euro is directed towards supporting the fisheries sector in the country. In addition, the European ship owners' contribution is estimated at 10 million euro, whilst the new protocol also provides for increased job opportunities for Moroccan fishermen.
EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said in a press statement that "I am glad that this protocol can finally enter into force: our fishermen have been waiting for this day for more than two years."