The new maritime fisheries cooperation agreement between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Russian Federation was approved by the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Islamic Affairs, and MRE on Thursday, four months after it was passed by the government council (bill n° 77.20 approving the cooperation agreement in the field of sea fishing between Morocco and Russia). The new text will take the place of the 2016 agreement between Rabat and Moscow, which will expire in March 2020.
In Morocco’s exclusive economic zone, the document also defines the modalities of cooperation in matters of fishery resource preservation and exploitation. It also specifies the fishing conditions for Russian-flagged vessels in maritime areas along the Atlantic coast where the Kingdom has sovereign rights. Since 1992, this is the eighth such agreement. It will last four years and will allow a fleet of ten Russian vessels to catch small surface fish in Moroccan waters within 15 miles. The creation of a legal framework is in the works. The National Institute for Marine Fisheries Research and its Russian counterpart are cooperating scientifically and technically to follow and monitor the ecosystem of small pelagics in Moroccan waters. Indeed, it should make it possible for Moroccan students to receive training grants from Russian fishing institutions.
Furthermore, Morocco believes that Russian vessels operating in Moroccan waters provide employment opportunities for Moroccan fishermen at a constant rate of 16 sailors per vessel. Before the start of fishing activities, a joint committee should meet to determine the quotas that will be granted to Russian vessels in the first year of the agreement, as well as all technical and financial arrangements for putting the agreement into effect.
Like the old agreement, it provides for the same overall quota to be exploited (129,500 tonnes of small pelagics) This is in addition to an overall annual financial contribution from this former agreement, which is estimated at around US $ 22 million. The two parties in renewing this fisheries cooperation will have to take into account the state of the fisheries resources.