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Morocco re-opens waters to European fishermen

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Morocco re-opens waters to European fishermen

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It has taken years of negotiations and is costing the European Union 144 million euros, but Morocco has now agreed to let some European fishermen back into its waters. The two sides have just signed an accord to replace one that ran out in 1999. Since then many mainly Spanish and Portuguese fisherman have been out of work. External commerce minister, Mustapha Mechahouri, signed for Morocco. He said the treaty took into consideration problems expressed by Morocco but also a number of those facing the EU. He said it was a fair deal.

Joe Borg, European Fishing minister, agreed. “It promotes the development of responsible fisheries based on the economical, financial, technical and scientific co-operation in the field of fisheries between the European community and the Kingdom of Morocco,” he said. However the deal, which runs for four years from March 2006, only allows 119 European trawlers back into Moroccan waters. Under the last agreement 600 boats were given licences, at a cost to the EU of 100 million euros per year.