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Moroccan government accused of fraud with EU anti-driftnet money
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Morocco received 4 million from the European Union to put a stop to the harmful use of driftnets. Morocco's Trade Union of Traditional and Coastal Fishermen claims that the entire sum was given to two individuals lacking any legal status to receive the money, and has taken the matter to court.
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Above photo: Moroccan fisherman unloading driftnets in harbour of Tangiers, Morocco. Photo by Oceana.

Moroccan media is buzzing with the news of an enormous financial scandal facing the country's Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries. Scooping the story was El Masa', a Moroccan newspaper, which on Friday 26 June published incriminating documents that significantly substantiate the accusation of the fishermen's union.

According to the documents seen by El Masa', a representative of the Moroccan Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries called Zakia Driwish had a meeting with two individuals, K.Y. and M.S., who were asked to impersonate representatives of the fishermen in order to be able to take the 4 million . K.Y. had to act as the Secretary General of the Fishermen's Union, while M.S. acted as the local secretary of the National Federation of Workers in Tangiers. In reality, the two men, whose names have so far not been disclosed, had nothing to do with any trade union.

The real Secretary General of the Trade Union of Traditional and Coastal Fishermen, Rachid Sueli, put down a complaint for impersonation in 2013. That complaint was reviewed a first time by the Court of Tangier last week, on 23 June. According to Sueli, the fishermen have not seen a cent of the EU support. Instead, he claims, there was a deal at the level of the Ministry to divide the money among themselves. That claim now appears to be substantiated by the documents seen by El Masa'.

Under the previous Protocol to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Parnership Agreement, which ran from 2007 to 2011, Morocco received an annual sum of 1 million to encourage its fishermen to abandon the destructive use of driftnets. The EU-Moroccan fish deal is particularly controversial for allowing Morocco to control where fishing activities can take place; consequently, EU vessels are violating international law by their activity in the waters of the parts of Western Sahara that have been under Moroccan military occupation since 1975.

A 2011 review of the previous fisheries Protocol proved that the whole deal was disastrous for the fish stocks, with Morocco's owns stocks depleted and the Western Saharan stocks under severe pressure. The EU somehow sought to counter the environmental criticism through pointing out that it was paying Morocco to encourage its own fleet to drop the use of drifnets. But the 2011 review revealed that at least under the first three years of the protocol, the Moroccan government had not even used the money they were given for this purpose.

In June 2014, environmental organisation Oceana published a report that proved that the illegal driftnets were still used in Morocco.

Today's publication of El Masa' suggests where the EU money ultimately ended up; in a shady fraudulous deal that involved high ranking Ministry representatives.


    
News:

23.10 - 2015 / 23.10 - 2015Morocco continues to discard by-catches in occupied Western Sahara
29.06 - 2015 / 29.06 - 2015Moroccan government accused of fraud with EU anti-driftnet money
02.12 - 2014 / 02.12 - 2014Maria Damanaki opposed continued EU fishing in Western Sahara
18.09 - 2014 / 18.09 - 2014EU-Morocco fish deal: who's shown an interest so far?
18.09 - 2014 / 18.09 - 2014Dutch first to fish under unethical EU-Morocco fish deal
09.08 - 2014 / 09.08 - 2014UN former legal chief slams EU legal view as "preposterous"
21.07 - 2014 / 21.07 - 2014Illegal EU fish agreement with Morocco now ratified by King
14.03 - 2014 / 14.03 - 20149 detained, threats of jail if demonstrating against EU fisheries
11.02 - 2014 / 11.02 - 2014Here are the EU states that will benefit from the dirty fisheries
11.02 - 2014 / 11.02 - 2014Morocco adopts contentious EU-Morocco fish deal
10.12 - 2013 / 10.12 - 2013Occupied Sahara: EU undermining Human Rights on Human Rights Day
08.12 - 2013 / 08.12 - 2013More vids of demonstration and victims of EU/Moroccan plans in Sahara
08.12 - 2013 / 08.12 - 2013Western Sahara president asks UN intervention to stop EU and Morocco
08.12 - 2013 / 08.12 - 2013Many injured in protest against EU/Spain fish plans in Western Sahara
05.12 - 2013 / 05.12 - 2013EU fish plans illegal, 21 jurists and lawyers state
05.12 - 2013 / 05.12 - 2013267 organisations ask European Parliament to reject fish accord
04.12 - 2013 / 04.12 - 2013President of African Parliament calls on EU to respect Sahara rights
02.12 - 2013 / 02.12 - 2013Greenpeace: EU parliament must vote no to Western Sahara fisheries
18.11 - 2013 / 18.11 - 2013European Liberal Youth calls for no EU fishing in occupied Sahara
15.11 - 2013 / 15.11 - 2013YEPP urges exclusion of Western Sahara from EU-Morocco trade deals






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The EU considers to pay Morocco to fish in occupied Western Sahara. An EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement from 2013 would be both politically controversial and in violation of international law. The international Fish Elsewhere! campaign demands the EU to avoid such unethical operations, and go fishing somewhere else. No fishing in Western Sahara should take place until the conflict is solved.
عريضة لوقف النهب

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يحضر الاتحاد الاوربي لإبرام اتفاق غير اخلاقي جديد للصيد البحري مع المغرب في سنة 2013.

مرة اخرى، يعتزم الاتحاد الاوربي الصيد في المياه الاقليمية للصحراء الغربية المحتلة في خرق سافر للقانون الدولي. وقع هذه العريضة للتنديد بذلك.

"EU fisheries in Western Sahara must be stopped"




Western Sahara human rights activist Aminatou Haidar hopes for increased attention to the EU plundering of occupied Western Sahara.

READ ALSO

10.04 - 2012
Guardian: EU taking its over-fishing habits to west African waters?
15.12 - 2011
EU Observer: Morocco expels EU fishing boats
15.12 - 2011
BBC News: Morocco's fish fight: High stakes over Western Sahara
15.12 - 2011
European Voice: MEPs reject EU-Morocco fisheries pact
15.12 - 2011
Reuters: EU lawmakers reject Morocco fisheries pact






Human rights activist Malak Amidane denounces EU fisheries