BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Parliament has backed a fisheries agreement with Morocco which includes waters off the disputed territory of Western Sahara that Rabat claims.
The legislature in Strasbourg approved the deal with 415 votes in favor, 189 against and 49 abstentions.
Morocco considers the vast Western Sahara, with its rich fishing ground, as its "southern provinces" and rejects anything considered a threat to its territorial integrity. Western Sahara's Polisario Front independence movement was against the agreement.
Some 130 EU vessels will be able to catch tuna, sardines, mackerel and anchovies off Morocco and Western Sahara and the EU will pay 208 million euros ($235 million) over four years in support of the local fisheries sector.
After initial approval, the member states need to officially back it again later.