Spain’s foreign ministry last week wrote a letter to the Moroccan embassy in Spain protesting the establishment of a fish farm near the Zaffarin Islands.

Minister José Manuel Albares wanted to express to Morocco his disagreement with the installation of this fish farm in Spanish territorial waters, diplomatic sources told El Pais. According to him, this illegal occupation is a threat to the safety of navigation and to the environment.

At the same time, the Ministry of Transport ordered the Spanish company Morenot, which installed the sea cages without authorization to the Moroccan company Mediterranean Aquafarm SA, concessionaire of the fish farm, to remove these installations within 20 days, under penalty of enduring the rigors of the law. Zaffarines and the surrounding waters are declared a Special Bird Protection Area (ZEPA) and Site of Community Importance (SCI) of the Natura 2000 Network.

For Rabat, these maritime areas (Zaffarines, the rock of Badis and Al Hoceima) are part of its territory, but Spain is convinced of the contrary. Since March 7, the Moroccan authorities have issued the license to set up the fish farm to the concessionaire company. At the beginning of this month, 16 cages, sort of fish traps, were installed in these waters.

In October, the far-right Vox party warned about this fish-farming facility. In response, the government simply indicated that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food had not received any request or communication from a company or the Moroccan authorities to set up a fish farm near the islands. Zaffarins.