The new 4-year agreement is the 8th to be signed by Morocco and Russia since 1992. It establishes the legal framework allowing a fleet of 10 Russian vessels to fish for small pelagic species in Moroccan waters beyond 15 nautical miles.
Due to the restrictions dictated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the two parties had held several rounds of online discussions before agreeing on a common vision that led to the signing of the agreement, a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries said on Friday.
At the start of these rounds, the two ministers in charge of fisheries had expressed their desire to renew fisheries cooperation between the two countries, taking into account the state of fisheries resources and their attachment to the preservation of these resources, the statement said.
The new 4-year accord also provides for scientific and technical cooperation for the monitoring of the pelagic ecosystem in Moroccan waters between the National Fisheries Research Institute and its Russian counterpart. Likewise, it allows Moroccan students to benefit from scholarships to undergo training in Russian establishments specializing in fisheries.
The activity of Russian vessels in Moroccan waters offers work opportunities for Moroccan fishermen at the rate of 16 sailors per vessel at all times, the statement said, noting that these vessels are subject to a control and monitoring regime which includes, in addition to the technical visit in Moroccan ports, continuous monitoring of each vessel by satellite, as well as the permanent boarding of a Moroccan scientific observer.
The ministry also said that the joint committee, which will meet before the start of fishing activities, will set the quota to be granted to Russian vessels for the first year of the agreement, in accordance with the provisions of the C stock small pelagic fisheries development plan. It will also lay down all the technical provisions and financial arrangements for the implementation of the agreement.
The agreement provides for an annual financial compensation representing the right of access to the sea resources, annual fees, as well as the regulatory fees for fishing licenses.