Morocco, EU sign new fishing agreement

Morocco and the European Union signed a new fishing agreement on Tuesday, after concluding three months of negotiations to replace a deal that expired last week.

The new agreement allows EU boats to access Morocco's fishing waters for 52 million euros per year ($60 million), a 30 percent increase on the old deal, a document circulated by Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing said.

"It is a win-win agreement," said Claudia Wiedey, the head of the EU's delegation in Morocco.

The agreement, which was initially signed in 2014, expired on July 14, when Rabat and Brussels failed to reach an agreement on the deal's financial implications for both parties in time.

In an interview after signing of the deal, which will come into force by the end of the year, Morocco's Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Aziz Akhannouch expressed his satisfaction, saying that the agreement marks a new page in EU-Morocco diplomatic ties. He pointed out that the most important aspect of the deal is to guarantee fishing sustainability and protect Moroccan resources.

The minister praised the EU's compromise regarding the inclusion of the territorial waters of Western Sahara, saying that Morocco will play its part by ensuring that the large part of the deal's benefits goes to the local population.

Source: International Islamic News Agency