Morocco expresses readiness for new fisheries partnership with Europe
Morocco-European Union, Economics, 5/19/2000
Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi on Thursday expressed Morocco's readiness for a new partnership with the European Union (EU) for the implementation of a national plan for the modernization of Morocco's fisheries sector.
The plan provides for the development of fisheries infrastructure and sea resource development and marketing, Youssoufi told the press after meeting visiting European agriculture and fisheries commissioner, Franz Fischler.
"We noticed that UE was ready to cooperate with Morocco, part of a new partnership, for the implementation of the plan," he said, adding that the Union informed Morocco that it will make concrete proposals in this connection in the few coming weeks.
Fischler visited Morocco on Thursday for the second time since the Morocco- European Union four-year fisheries accord expired last November.
He was received by King Mohammed VI and conferred with agriculture and fisheries minister, Habib malki.
Morocco refused to renew the fisheries accord binding it to the European Union under which nearly 600 European trawlers, mainly Spanish and Portuguese, used to operate in Moroccan waters.
Morocco had called for a new partnership formula that preserves the Kingdom's sea resources. Moroccan officials and fisheries professionals argue that the new partnership should seek the promotion of joint ventures in fisheries-related sectors such as shipyards, ship maintenance sea-food processing and fish-farming.
With national territorial waters extending over 1.2 million KM2 and with a 3,500 km long sea coast, Morocco has huge sea resources and harbors over 840 fish species. In 1998, Sea products exports have earned Morocco $ 740 Million (7.4 billion Dirhams), recording an increase of 10 % compared to the previous year.
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