New York lawyers slam EU fisheries in Western Sahara
Morocco cannot receive money from the EU to fish in Western Sahara, states the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. The association urges the UN to investigate Morocco's plunder of natural resources in Western Sahara.
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, organising over 23000 New York lawyers, has after 16 months of research and analysis published in April 2011 a "Report on Legal Issues Involved in the Western Sahara Dispute: Use of Natural Resources".
Download the report here.
"Certain of Morocco’s commercial fishing activities in waters off the coast of Western Sahara may be in violation of the State’s obligations under international law. In particular, the EU-Morocco FPA currently in force grants Morocco complete discretion with respect to the use of funds paid by the EU to Morocco in part as compensation for access to territorial waters including those adjacent to Western Sahara. The Committee is unable to ascertain any information regarding Morocco’s use of sums received under the FPA; indeed, the European Commission has also been unable to obtain this information. The Committee is of the opinion that retention by Morocco of any portion of those sums relating to fishing activities in Western Sahara’s territorial waters, or disbursement of such funds without consideration for the interests of Western Sahara or the Sahrawi people, would violate international law. Further, to the extent commercial fishing activities are currently taking place in Western Saharan waters, such activities must be done in consultation with the Sahrawi population and any benefits from the activities must flow to the Sahrawi people", the report reads.
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.