The current sustainable fisheries partnership agreement concluded between the EU and Morocco entered into force on 18 July 2019 and is tacitly renewed. Its first implementing protocol has a duration of four years covering the period 18 July 2019 – 17 July 2023.
This fisheries agreement allows a total number of 128 EU vessels coming from Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy and United Kingdom, to fish in the Moroccan exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Main features of the SFPA
Duration of the agreement
Duration of the protocol
4 years (18 July 2019 to 17 July 2023)
Nature of the SFPA
The total financial contribution over the 4 years period in €208 m distributed as follows: The first year is €48.1 m (€37 m from EU budget distributed as €19.1 m as access rights and €17.9 m as sectoral support). The fee contribution from vessels owner is estimated at €11.1 m.
The second year is €50.4 m (€38.8 m from EU budget distributed as €20 m as access rights and €18.8m as sectoral support). The fee contribution from vessels owner is estimated at €11.6 m.
The third and fourth years is €55.1 m each year (€42.4 m from EU budget distributed as €21.9 m as access rights and €20.5 m as sectoral support). The fee contribution from vessels owner is estimated at €12.7 m.
The fishing zones vary according to the fishing categories
Fish species covered
Category 1: sardines, anchovies and other pelagic species
Category 2: sabers, sparidae and other demersal species
Category 3: croaker, sparidae
Category 4: black hake, sabers, palometes
Category 5: tuna
Category 6: sardines, sardinella, mackerel, horse mackerel, anchovies
The first fisheries agreement concluded between the EU and Morocco dates back to 1995. At that time, it was by far the most important fisheries agreement between the EU and a third country. However, the parties did not reach an agreement to renew the protocol in 1999 and there was no agreement until the current fisheries partnership agreement came into force in February 2007.
The first protocol to current fisheries partnership agreement ran until 27 February 2011 and provided for a financial contribution of €36.1 million out of which €13.5 million was dedicated to the support of the fisheries policy of Morocco. Vessels from 11 EU Member States could obtain fishing authorisations from Morocco under the agreement and this protocol.
A second protocol, extending its predecessor by one year under essentially the same terms, was negotiated in February 2011 and provisionally applied until December 2011, when the European Parliament decided not to consent to its conclusion.
The next protocol under this SFPA lasted from 15 July 2014 until 14 July 2018. On 17 July 2019, a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement came into force. An exchange of letters concerning certain provisions of the agreement form an integral part of it. Its implementing protocol came into force the same date. This protocol has a duration of four years.
The protocol thus contributes to sustainability of the fish stocks, protection of the local fishermen and food security, strict controls and support to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).
During the period covered by the agreement, the parties shall cooperate to monitor the state of resources in the fishing zone. Therefore, a joint scientific meeting (JSM), composed of EU and Moroccan scientific experts, is set up to convene annually. The Joint Committee (JC) consult each other based on the conclusions of the JSM and the best available scientific advice.
Current legal framework
Allocation of fishing opportunities, adopted by Council Regulation (EU) 2019/440 of 29 November 2018.
Conclusion of the sustainable fisheries partnership agreement, adopted by Council Decision (EU) 2019/441 of 4 March 2019.
Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco (OJ L 77, 20.3.2019).