EU boats are to leave Moroccan waters after European Union lawmakers rejected a one-year extension of the bloc’s fisheries agreement.
Morocco was paid 36 million euros for fishing licenses every year.
The last agreement expired ten months ago and was expected to be renewed until February next year.
It is believed the current agreement led to excessive exploitation of fish stocks and failed to benefit the population of the Western Sahara, a former colony of Spain annexed by Morocco, where most of the fishing took place.
Maria Damanaki the Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs of the European Union (EU) said:
“I can promise you that I will do my best to obtain a better agreement. A better agreement means one that is economically profitable, environmentally friendly, and in accordance with international law.”
Morocco’s joining of Western Sahara in 1975 prompted a rebellion by the opposition Polisario Front.
The UN brokered a ceasefire in 1991 but subsequent talks have failed to find a settlement to the dispute.