The Portuguese Fishermen’s Association protested against the judgment of the European Union court canceling the fishing agreement with Morocco.
By way of a press release, Portuguese fishermen estimated that “the cancellation of the fishing agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, decided on last Wednesday, will further destabilize the European fishing fleet”.
And to stress: “If the cancellation, for the moment suspended for two months, enters into force, Portugal will lose access to 2,060 tonnes of pelagic species, as well as to 14 longline licenses in the artisanal category and 4 in the Demersal category ”.
Portuguese fishermen explain that “when the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) were created, European fishing fleets, including Portuguese, lost the right to work within 200 nautical miles from the coasts of third countries. This means that they lose access to the fishing grounds which they used until then or which, at least, were part of their fishing history ”.
The press release specifies that “the only mechanisms available to European fleets to continue operating in the EEZs of third countries are fishing agreements, now called partnership agreements for sustainable fisheries (APPS) that the EU is slow to negotiate, imposes conditions that its competitors do not impose, and often allow them to expire without renewal ”.
Unfortunately, regrets the same source, “the decision of the General Court of the European Union further weakens the APPS system as an alternative for European fishermen”.
“In addition to the direct loss of fishing opportunities, which are currently used for exchanges to strengthen national quotas in other fishing areas, the end of the agreement with Morocco would force the relocation of several Spanish vessels to the waters of the Iberian Peninsula, a factor of increasing pressure on the region’s resources, which would also have consequences for Portuguese fishing, ”adds the Association of Portuguese Fishermen.
As a reminder, on September 29, the European Union tribunal rendered its judgment at first instance concerning the appeal for annulment of decisions of the European Council on the subject of agricultural and fisheries agreements with Morocco.
The European court decided to annul these decisions “while maintaining their effects for a certain period in order to preserve the external action of the European Union and the legal certainty of its international commitments”, we read in the press release of court reporting on this judgment.