The m.v. Franziska , a 6,900 tonne capacity stern trawler, has been spotted fishing southwest off Dakhla since last weekend. The vessel is owned and operated by the Dutch company W. van der Zwan & Zn B.V., which in turn is part of the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA).
In December 2011, the European Parliament rejected a proposed prolongation of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement, following reports on its damaging ecological impact, financial loss to the Union and concerns over its compatibility with international law for failing to exclude Western Sahara from its scope. Accordingly, EU fishing in Morocco and Western Sahara ceased.
But a new agreement - reviewing EU borne expenses of the deal yet failing to address the ecological and legal obstacles - was aproved by the European Parliament in December 2013. The king of Morocco ratified the agreement in July this year.
The Saharawi people, ironically once regarded as Spanish citizens during Spain's colonisation of their land, were never consulted on the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement, and have consistently voiced their opposition to the deal. Several Saharawis were injured by Moroccan police as they protested against the European Parliament's decision to approve the fisheries protocol for their occupied waters.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.
Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.