Fishermen and ship owners in Cádiz and Morocco are pushing for unified rules in managing shared fishing grounds in the Strait of Gibraltar, rejecting differing regulations between Spain and Morocco.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the La Chanca hall in Conil hosted the first gathering of artisanal fishermen from Cádiz and Tangier, with the goal of reaching robust agreements to present to the governments of Spain and Morocco.
Nicolás Fernández, the manager of the Organization of Artisanal Fishing Producers Conil/La Atunara (OPP72), told Europa Press that they don’t need a political agreement on fishing but rather a neighborly one that facilitates a good relationship and mutual understanding between both parties, something he believes already exists among the fishermen but not as much between the involved governments.
Nicolás Fernández said that the situation of fishermen from both shores of the Strait of Gibraltar is critical, and there is a drastic reduction in species essential for both fleets.
In the face of these challenges, there is a clear will from the artisanal fishing sector in Morocco and Cádiz to seek potential solutions for the shared management of fishing grounds.
However, while there is cooperation among the fishermen, this level of collaboration is not as evident within the political responsibilities of both countries, including the European Union.
The president of OPP72 has called for countries on both sides to set aside the idea of “policing control” and act as a bridge to unite both sectors, helping to co-manage an area that, in his opinion, faces significant difficulties.
Raouf El Honsali, the director of the Mediterranean Fishing Chamber in Tangier, said that the Spanish and Moroccan fishermen do not only share common fishing grounds but also respect for fishing and the need to preserve resources for a feasible generational shift, ensuring a prosperous future for artisanal fishing on both shores.
Professionals in the fishing industry in Morocco and Spain are aiming for sustainability of the sector, shielding it from the Polisario’s legal actions in European courts seeking the annulment of agreements between Morocco and the EU that include Sahara.