Egypt and Libya are working to establish a joint venture to allow fishing in Libyan waters following a bilateral meeting in Cairo last month. In an email interview, Izzat Feidi, a fisheries consultant, discussed regional cooperation on fishing issues in North Africa.
WPR: How strong is intraregional cooperation within North Africa on fisheries issues, and what are the main points of conflict?
Izzat Feidi: Before the Arab Spring, intraregional cooperation among the six countries of North Africa faced several political and economic problems, mostly on a bilateral basis. Fisheries did not comprise a major point of conflict, though, beyond mainly Egyptian fishing vessels illegally poaching in Libya’s fishing grounds. When incidents did occur, the Libyan authorities would arrest fishermen and confiscate boats and catches until the matter was amicably mediated by diplomatic interventions.