European Parliament rejects EU fisheries

The EU fisheries in Western Sahara have today been voted down in the European Parliament. Reports made for the European Commission have shown that the EU fisheries in Western Sahara are a complete waste of EU taxpayers’ money, and contribute to destruction of marine life offshore Western Sahara. EU fleet must now return from Western Sahara.

Published 14 December 2011

Today’s plenary vote in the European Parliament, over EU fisheries in Western Sahara, took place around 11:30 today. 

The parliament was voting over whether to accept the 1 year extension of the EU fisheries in Western Sahara. The extension was approved by a tiny minority in the Council of Ministers this spring, as the former 2007-2011 agreement expired in March. 

Reports done for the European Commission have showed that the EU fisheries in Western Sahara are a complete waste of EU’s taxpayers money, and contribute to destruction of marine life offshore Western Sahara. In addition, the Parliament’s own legal service had already concluded that the agreement is in violation of international law, since Western Sahara is not part of Morocco, and the people of the territory have never approved the fisheries 

This autumn, both the parliament’s Budget Committee and the Development Committee recommended that the fisheries be stopped. In the Fisheries Committee, the rapporteur Carl Haglund from Finland also recommended a rejection. However, a small minority of the fisheries committee managed to change the conclusion of the Haglund report so it appeared in favour instead of rejecting the agreement. 

The vote today, was over whether to approve or reject the changed and nonsensical Haglund report which had been amended to accept the controversial fisheries. 

The result was that 326 voted against the report, thus demanding the fisheries to stop. 

296 parliamentarians, mostly following the Spanish fishing interests, voted in favour of the Haglund report. A number also abstained.

The consequence is that the EU fleet has to immediately stop fisheries in Western Sahara and return home from the occupied territories of Western Sahara. 

Spanish fisheries interests are already trying to push for a new and illegal 4 year fisheries agreement in the occupied waters from beginning of 2012. Morocco has lobbied hard for the continuation of the fisheries offshore the territory it illegally occupied in 1975.

Western Sahara Resource Watch has since 2006 been working to stop the EU fisheries in the occupied Western Sahara.

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