The imminent expiry of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) between Morocco and the European Union will occupy a central place in the discussions of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, said the Minister Spanish for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas.
On the sidelines of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Conference, as well as a parallel conference between EU and African Union ministers focusing on food security, the Spanish Agriculture Minister Luis Planas held a bilateral meeting in Rome on Saturday with his Moroccan counterpart, Mohammed Sadiki.
At the end of this meeting, Planas, made it known, in a declaration to the EFE agency, that the expiration of the Morocco-EU fishing agreement is one of the major subjects which will be addressed by his ministry during of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, which incidentally began on Saturday.
” This is a subject of great interest to Spain, because geographically it is the country closest to the European Union from the African continent, and it is there that phenomena such as the migratory movements that arise from all issues related to food and climate change“said the minister.
Indeed, this agreement is considered one of the most politically and economically important fisheries agreements for Spain. It grants operating permits for a total of 138 EU trawlers, 93 of which are Spanish, although only a few dozen are currently in use. However, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food had previously acknowledged that there are few prospects for the agreement to be renewed.
In this period of political and legal uncertainty, Spanish companies operating in the region will be able to benefit from an aid fund from the European Union to compensate for the losses, according to information obtained by Iberian media.
This European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) financially supports vessel owners and crew when there is a temporary cessation of their fishing activities due to the non-renewal of a partnership MoU for sustainable fishing. However, it is important to note that this support will only be available until the end of 2023, when the EMFF ends.
Moreover, theAid provided by the EMFF is limited to a maximum duration of six months per vessel during the eligible period from 2014 to 2023. If the beneficiaries have already received compensation for previous cases of temporary cessation since 2014, the corresponding duration will be deducted.
It should also be emphasized that all fishing activities carried out by the vessels and fishermen concerned must have effectively ceased during the temporary cessation period. In addition, it is important to note that decisions on aid are taken by Spain, not by the European Union. Each country determines the beneficiaries according to its own EMFF program and selection criteria.