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Morocco: Fisheries

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 124W, on Morocco: fisheries, what representations the Government has made to the Moroccan government to ensure that the indigenous people of Western Sahara receive licensing revenues or aid derived from the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement as a result of the fishing activity of UK trawlers in the waters of the occupied Western Sahara. (264046)

[holding answer 17 March 2009]: The Government maintain the position that the Government of Morocco—as the de facto administering power of Western Sahara—are obliged under international law to ensure that economic activities under administration, including the extraction and exportation of phosphates, do not adversely affect the interests of the people of Western Sahara.

Our officials in Rabat discuss a range of issues relating to the Western Sahara with their Moroccan counterparts, including when appropriate the issue of fishing revenues.

There are currently only two UK vessels operating in the waters off Western Sahara under the EU—Morocco Fisheries Agreement. All the fish caught are landed in Dakhla, Western Sahara and sold through the local markets or processed in a local factory.