Illegal catch

  • 2010-08-12

Dear TBT,

The Baltic states support illegal fishing in Western Sahara. The running EU-Moroccan fishery agreement is up for renewal in the autumn 2010. The agreement includes occupied waters of Western Sahara, which by the Legal Service of the EU Parliament has been declared illegal and against international law.

The agreement has been supported by the Baltic states and both Latvia and Lithuania are mentioned in the text, as they have obtained fishing licenses via the agreement. In 2008 the EU Commission revealed that Lithuanian vessels were fishing in Western Sahara waters in 2007. Together with Latvian vessels they were fishing there even in 2008.

The Baltics should know better than being involved in these illegal businesses in occupied waters considering their own experiences of exploitation during the Soviet occupation of their own countries.
If the Balts want international law to be valid for themselves when they are threatened by Soviet-Russia, they must accept that international law even prevails for other countries.

The Baltic states now have a chance to show in practice that they are supporting international law by, like Sweden, saying no to a renewal of this illegal fishery agreement. Would it not be to post-approve the Soviet occupation by approving the agreement again?

It is not only the freedom of the Saharawi people that is at stake here, but also the important respect for international law.

Karin Alsen
Gothenburg, Sweden



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