European Court of Justice ruled, on Tuesday, that the EU-Morocco fishing agreement can not be applied on the disputed on waters of the Western Sahara.
It said that including this area to the scope of the fishing agreement “violates several provisions of international law”.
The Court noted in a statement that the Agreement and the Protocol indicated that their application was only in the “territorial waters of Morocco” and therefore “the Court concludes that as long as the territory of Western Sahara is not part of the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco, the territorial waters of Western Sahara do not fall within the Moroccan fishing area that is targeted by the fishing agreement”.
The Court considered that “the inclusion of the Western Sahara region in the application of the fishing agreement would violate many rules of public international law that is applicable to the relationships between the Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, particularly the principle of self-determination”.
The European Court of Justice issued in 2016 a provision that includes two of the agreements that are signed with Morocco, and did not apply to Western Sahara, but the ruling did not require a separate agreement on fishing rights.
It is noteworthy that an organization called “Western Sahara Campaign” deposited a complaint before a British court demanding cancellation of the fishing agreement with Morocco, and the British court in turn referred the case to the European Supreme Court to obtain a legal opinion.
An adviser to the European Court of Justice said last month in a legal opinion that the fishing agreement between the European Union and Morocco should be declared null and void, asserting that; “More than 90% of the fishing operations under this agreement are applied in the territorial waters of the Sahara coasts”.