Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

The Moroccan-EU plan for sustainable fishing exposed

What you are about to see in these photographs is as shocking as it is horrific, as they expose the Moroccan-European Union sustainable fishing policy in Western Saharan waters. Under international law, the fish stocks belong to the Saharawi people. Why then does Morocco fish these stocks and why does the EU negotiate them with Morocco?

Most of Western Sahara does not belong to its indigenous Saharawi people. Most of Western Sahara belongs to the power which invaded it illegally in the 1970s, Morocco, along with its tremendous natural resources. The photographs available in the link (below) are taken by Western Sahara Resource Watch, which has made them available to the international media to reveal typical Moroccan fishing methods in waters that do not belong to it.

Watch how the fishing vessel, the Moroccan fishing vessel, Adrar, flying the Belize flag, sucks up literally tonnes of fish, then sprays them all overboard back into the sea, without using them, steeped in their own blood and guts. These photographs were taken, as you can see in the document scanned below, at 24º South, meaning inside Western Sahara waters. In these photographs it is estimated that sixty tonnes of Saharawi fish were literally wasted by Morocco. Why did the Moroccan's do this?

Because the sardines in question were not the right size. So why did they fish them? Is this sustainable fishing? Is this the country that the European Union does fishing agreements with, to give the European Union vessels the right to fish in waters that anyway do not belong to Morocco?

What does this say for Morocco's policy of sustainable fishing and does this not render each and every word of what the EU says about sustainability and a moral trading policy utterly worthless?

Half of the population of Western Sahara lives in temporary tent cities in the desert and has done so since Morocco invaded 38 years ago, in 1975. The brutal occupation and the denial of human and political rights to the indigenous population does not make the headlines in the international media - I would postulate that there have been more articles on these pages of Pravda.Ru about the issue than all of the rest of the international media put together - and it certainly does not make the negotiating table of Mr. José Barroso and his trading barons in Brussels. It wouldn't, now, would it?

Instead of enjoying the comfort of their occupied homes in occupied Western Sahara, instead of enjoying the fruits from the exploitation of their own resources, the Saharawi population sits shivering in the desert in tents, being thrown one tin per family per month of these fish by humanitarian agencies, canned in Agadir, literally stolen by Morocco with the connivance of the European Union.

But it is not only the Adrar that has been pillaging Western Sahara's fish stocks. In the last two to three years a huge Moroccan fishing fleet has been operating in the area. The European Union is at this moment negotiating with the Moroccans for fishing rights in these waters, which under international law belong to the Saharawi people and Western Sahara, not Morocco. Not to the EU.

While the EU has the audacity to mention sustainable fishing policies, have a look at the pictures in the link and consider whether one can trust one word the European Union utters, whether it in fact has an ethical trading policy and whether these photographs represent a sustainable fishing policy.

http://www.wsrw.org/a105x2712

Scroll down to see the pictures

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Pravda.Ru

 

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