The three longliner fishing vessels 'Koryo Maru No. 51' (IMO number 8915990), 'Shoei Maru No. 7' (IMO number 9120023) and Taiwa Maru No. 88' (IMO number 9053488) were all seen on the 16 and 17 of October to fish in the waters of Western Sahara.
The vessels are there of one of two reasons: either on a licence signed by the Moroccan government covering a territory which is not part of Morocco, or without such a licence - meaning that the the vessels fish there even without the occupying power's approval or intervention.
In either case, the presence of Japanese fishing vessels in the territory takes place in violation of the rights of the owners of the fish; the people of Western Sahara, and in violation of international law. No state recognises Moroccan claims to the territory.
Half of the Saharawi people, the sole inhabitants of the territory prior to the Moroccan occupation, have fled their homeland, and live now as refugees in the Algerian desert.
The presense of Japanese fishing vessels in the waters offshore Western Sahara illustrates the poor environmental control by the Moroccan government in the waters they illegally occupy.
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.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
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.