Morocco, Russia Sign New Fisheries Cooperation

  • 30 November 2020 / News / 164 / Emerging Africa

Morocco, Russia Sign New Fisheries Cooperation

Rabat – Morocco and Russia inked a new maritime fisheries cooperation, a statement from the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday.

The deal will replace the 2016 agreement that expired this year in March.

The two countries held several rounds of online discussions before agreeing on a common vision that led to the signing of the deal.

The new agreement, which will last for four years, is the eighth of its kind since 1992

The agreement establishes the legal framework allowing a fleet of 10 Russian vessels to fish for small pelagic species in Moroccan waters beyond 15 nautical miles.

The agreement also takes into account scientific and technical cooperation between the National Fisheries Research Institute and its Russian counterpart for the monitoring of the pelagic ecosystem in Moroccan waters..

The deal will also benefit Moroccan students, with a projected number of training grants from Russian establishments specializing in sea fishing.

During discussions leading to the deal, the two ministers expressed desire to renew fisheries cooperation between their two countries. They noted the cooperation will take into account the state of fisheries resources.

Morocco’s ministry of agriculture said that the activity of Russsian vessels in Moroccan waters offers work opportunities for Moroccan fishermen at the rate  of 16 sailors per vessel at all times.

The vessels are subject to a control and monitoring system that monitors each vessel by satellite, as well as the permanent embarkation of a Moroccan scientific observer.

The ministry also said that the joint commission will fix the quota for Russian vessels in the first year of the agreement in line with the provisions of the management plan of the “C stock small pelagic fishery.”

The joint commission will meet before the start of fishing activities.

The commission will also cover all technical provisions and financial arrangements for the implementation of the agreement.

The Moroccan Ministry recalled that the deal offers “financial annual financial compensation, representing the right of access to the resource, the annual fee, and the regulatory fees for fishing license.”

Fisheries is among Morocco’s most coveted natural resources. In addition to the new deal with Russia, the country also has a decades-long fisheries agreement with the EU. 

Read also: EU Official Commends Morocco’s Respect of Ceasefire in Western Sahara

On Wednesday, agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch discussed the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement with European Commissioner for the Environment, Virginijus Scinkervicius.

Akhannoch celebrated the positive results of the first year of the new EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, despite the COVID-19 crisis.

He said that the deal enabled the two countries to consolidate their cooperation in the fisheries sector, which represents a 32-year solid partnership.

Moroccan ambassador to the EU Ahmed Rahhou, who was also in the meeting, stressed that the fisheries deal strengthens the multidimensional strategic partnership between Morocco and its EU partner.

Morocco and the EU signed the fishing agreement  to renew the deal after it expired last year. 

The deal sets the conditions of access of the European fleet and provides for the requirements of sustainable fishing.