The European Commission has asked European ministers for the authority to negotiate a fishing grounds access deal with Libya.

Brussels is keen to secure rights to exploit fishing grounds in neighbouring countries, especially since its efforts to renew an agreement with Morocco have failed. A Commission statement said that Libya, with its 2,000 km Mediterranean coastline, offers the European Union fish industry “sustainable fishing opportunities.”

As is customary with such deals, Brussels will be offering “EU support to modernising its fisheries sector” in return for access. As a result, the Commission said it would conduct an assessment of Libya’s fish reserves and the state of its fishing sector, before opening talks.