The Moroccan House of Representatives adopted unanimously on Monday the bill approving the Morocco-EU fisheries deal.
Morocco and the EU signed the agreement to renew the fisheries deal on January 14.
The fisheries sector has always been an important component of the Morocco-EU partnership and the new agreement preserves, consolidates and develops this partnership that is over 30 year old.
The lower house also adopted the implementation protocol of the agreement and the related exchange of letters, which form an integral part of the agreement.
The exchange of letters relating to the agreement confirms that the Sahara southern provinces are an integral part of Morocco, as the text clearly specifies that the fishing zone extends from Cape Spartel in northern Morocco to Cape Blanc to the south of Dakhla.
The fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU sets the conditions for access for the European fleet and provides the requirements for sustainable fishing.
Under this new sustainable fisheries agreement, the two sides agreed on the content of the deal, the areas it covers and its implementation protocol.
The text specifies explicitly the fishing zones and access conditions for European trawlers, according to the categories of fleets and target species.
The level of compulsory landings and fishing categories remain unchanged compared to the former agreement, which expired in July 2018, while the number of vessels concerned by the new agreement would reach 128 compared to 120 under the previous accord.
The new agreement provides for an increase of 30 percent of the financial payment to Morocco, which will thus go up from €40 million a year to €52.2 million.
The two sides also agreed on the implementation of improvement measures to increase benefits for the local populations in the concerned areas as these populations will benefit from the socio-economic advantages of the agreement, mainly in terms of infrastructure, basic social services, enterprise creation, vocational training, development projects and modernization of the fishing sector.
The number of boarding contracts for Moroccan sailors and fishermen aboard European fishing vessels will also increase. To bolster the socio-economic impacts on the fishing areas covered by the deal, the text provides for a compulsory landing volume, the same as in the previous agreement, but increases penalties from 5 percent to 15 percent in case of non-compliance with the landing requirements.
Besides, several technical conditions have been included in the new agreement in order to preserve the sustainability of fisheries resources and protect the marine environment, such as a review of catches of small pelagic in the south.
In order to preserve some species, octopus and shrimps are not included in the agreement.
Also, the Mediterranean Sea is excluded from this perimeter in order to preserve its resources, which are overexploited.
Fisheries monitoring and control system was also strengthened by making the presence of observers compulsory for some categories that were not provided for in the former agreement.