The Spanish government and Morocco are negotiating the possibility of allowing Spanish fishing vessels to operate in the waters of the Sahara, as reported by El Espanol.
Discussions have arisen due to the impasse surrounding the renewal of the EU-Morocco Fishing Agreement protocol. Both sides are considering alternative options, including potential business agreements.
Presently, Spanish and EU fishing fleets are unable to access the abundant fishing grounds in the Sahara due to legal complexities. The renewal of the EU-Morocco Fishing Agreement protocol is on hold pending a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
While specifics remain limited, sources familiar with the negotiations confirmed to El Espanol ongoing discussions between Spain and Morocco.
In the absence of a Luxembourg court ruling, a potential solution to the fishing restriction could lie in bilateral business agreements.
Spanish fishing associations have been engaging with major fishing industry companies to establish contracts that would ensure legal security for fishing operations. Under this approach, Spanish fishermen might operate in prohibited fishing areas aboard Moroccan-flagged vessels.
In the meantime, a lack of EU-Morocco Fishing Agreement renewal has suspended fishing activity in Sahrawi waters, disproportionately impacting Spanish vessels.
Progress will be influenced by the CJEU’s anticipated ruling, expected by late 2023 or early 2024. Meanwhile, the Campo de Gibraltar fishing industry, with 47 of the 93 Spanish licenses, remains vigilant while awaiting resolution.