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Western Sahara

Britain’s leading canned fish brand John West will soon be selling sardines from occupied Western Sahara, under a partnership between brand owner MW Brands and Moroccan cannery Oceamic Laayoune.

The sale of Saharawi resources without benefiting the Saharawi people is illegal under international law.

Oceamic Laayoune and its parent company Sarma Food are both based in Western Sahara, and both are owned and managed by Moroccans, not Saharawis. Both companies mainly employ Moroccan settlers, and take fish from Moroccan fishing vessels in Saharawi waters.

Western Sahara has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975.

Interestingly, MW Brands has signed the ‘sustainable seafood charter’ with global conservation charity WWF.

In another act of resource theft, British-Irish oil (and fracking) company San Leon was set to drill in Western Sahara in August.

San Leon, which has offices in Grosvenor St, London, told the Irish media on 13 July that the well was located in Morocco’s ‘Southern Provinces’. This is a term that is only used by the Moroccan government – to refer to Western Sahara.

The Irish group, Global Legal Action Network, has said it may take legal action against San Leon.