Russia signs new fisheries deal for occupied Western Sahara
The Russian and Moroccan governments on 15 March 2016 announced the renewing of their fisheries agreement, allowing Russian trawlers fish in occupied Western Sahara. WSRW has translated the agreement from Russian to English.
The Russian government has renewed its illegal and controversial fisheries agreement with the Moroccan government. The agreement allows the Russian fleet to operate in occupied Western Sahara, in violation of international law. As occupying power of Western Sahara, Morocco has no right to sign such an agreement with another state.
In 2013, WSRW published the previous agreement together with our inofficial translation, highlighting that the agreement specifically stated that it was to be applied within Morocco's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However, Morocco has never laid an EEZ claim to the waters that the agreement was effectively applied to. Yet, the Russian fleet has now operated in those waters, outside of Morocco's EEZ, for three years.
The bizarre formulation regarding Morocco's EEZ has now been changed into "maritime space where the Kingdom of Morocco exercises sovereign rights and (or) jurisdiction". From the perspective of international law, Morocco exercises neither in occupied Western Sahara.
The new agreement covers a volume of 140,000 tonnes of fish annually. Payments by the shipowners to the Moroccan government is calculated at 17.5% of the total value of fish goods, calculated on the basis of book prices (in U.S. dollars) per ton of following types of finished fish products: Frozen fish products at $ 596; bycatch at $1344; fish flour at $1176 and fish oil at $ 1008.
See also this coverage about the signing of the new agreement:
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.