The European Union (EU) has reiterated “the utmost importance” that it attaches to its partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco in terms of fisheries, and “the essential interest” that it attaches to its pursuit “in a spirit of trust, solidarity and mutual interest”.
EU also underlined, in a joint communiqué released at the end of the 5th session of the Joint Commission responsible for monitoring the Partnership Agreement in the field of sustainable fisheries, held Thursday in Brussels, that relations with Morocco in the field of fisheries “are part of a global and mutually beneficial partnership, which makes Morocco and the EU strategic partners for stability, development and prosperity in the region”.
The two parties also announced that they will continue scientific cooperation in “the common goal of sustainability” of the fisheries resource in the region.
“Morocco and the EU have taken note of the recommendations contained in the report drawn up by the joint scientific committee, which met last June. In this regard, they will continue scientific cooperation with the common objective of sustainability of the resource in the region”, indicates the joint communiqué of the 5th session of the Joint Commission responsible for monitoring the Partnership Agreement in the field of sustainable fishing between the Kingdom and the EU.
Held in accordance with the Partnership Agreement in the field of sustainable fisheries between Morocco and the European Union, this 5th session made it possible to make an overall assessment of the four years of implementation of the Fisheries Protocol of July 18, 2019, and which expires on July 17, in accordance with its Article 16.
It should be recalled that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Living Abroad, Nasser Bourita, affirmed, Wednesday in Rabat, during a press briefing at the end of the 3rd Meeting of the African Atlantic States Process, that the Kingdom will decide on the future of cooperation with the EU in the field of fisheries in the light of the government’s own assessments and in consultation with European partners.
“The Morocco-EU Fisheries Agreement is still in force. On the other hand, it is the Fisheries Protocol, concluded for four years (2019-2023), which expires on July 17”, said Mr. Bourita who was speaking during a press briefing of the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the African Atlantic States Process.
The Minister added that this was a “programmed” expiry since the conclusion of the Protocol for a period of 4 years from 18 July 2019. Mr. Bourita described the implementation of the protocol as “satisfactory”, noting that the cooperation has been “positive and mutually beneficial” during these four years, indicating that a meeting is scheduled this week in Brussels between the Moroccan authorities and their European counterparts, within the framework of a Joint Commission in the field of fisheries, to make a joint assessment of these four years.
With regard to the future of the Fisheries Agreement, the Minister indicated that “a reflection is underway within the Moroccan government”, taking into account three parameters.
The first is “doctrinal”. Morocco today, in line with the vision and foreign policy outlined by HM King Mohammed VI, favours partnerships “with clearer added value”.
“Morocco wants more advanced partnerships, where Moroccan added value is stronger”, argued Mr Bourita.
Regarding the second parameter, the Kingdom has developed a national fishing strategy “Halieutis” and put in place a vision dedicated to the development of the sector, which takes into account the expectations of operators and requires adaptations in the context of interaction with the partners.
The 3rd, which the government is incorporating into its thinking and assessment, is linked to scientific data, with the aim of preserving this important natural resource for Morocco and Moroccans, and to ensure its sustainability.
“Morocco will therefore interact with the European side on the basis of this reflection, which is in progress”, underlined Mr. Bourita, indicating that dialogue and cooperation with European partners are permanent.