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Ban leaves Andalusia and Canaries fishermen struggling

Fri 16th Dec 2011
Ban leaves Andalusia and Canaries fishermen struggling

The decision not to extend the fishing agreement between Morocco and the EU has caused problems within the Spanish fishing industry, especially in Andalusia and the Canaries, where almost 90% of the fishing fleet has a permit to operate in the waters off the Moroccan coastline.

The knock on effect has prompted the outgoing Minister for the Rural and Maritime Environment, Rosa Aguilar, to demand compensation from the EU "We are talking about around 70 fishing vessels and more than 500 direct jobs and many other indirect jobs being jeopardized. This damage must be compensated by the EU, not only to the owners of the fleet, but to crews working on the boats," she commented in an interview on the radio.

The Spanish minister will inform her counterparts in other EU member states, together with the EU Commissioner for Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, of the concern in Spain over the EU Parliament's decision, which means an immediate end to all fishing in Moroccan waters.

She told the Spanish media how "Spain respects the decision but does not agree with it," demanding that a new mandate from the European Commission for the negotiation of a new deal with Morocco. "There are whole towns in Andalusia that effectively live off fishing in Moroccan waters," the minister said.

This is the case in the fishing town of Barbate (Cadiz), where almost 25% of the town's 23,000 inhabitants are unemployed, and where the move threatens the livelihoods of almost 800 Fishermen.

The Vice-President the area´s Fishing Association told that press how "90% of the fleet has a licence to fish in Morocco, and the ban on fishing in Moroccan waters is now compounded by the biological ban imposed on the Gulf of Cadiz between December and February."

Whatever the reasoning behind the ban, it could not have come at a worse time for the wider economy of Andalusia and the Canaries

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