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Inclusive Blue Economy in the spotlight

After three years of absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Salon Halieutis returns with a 6th edition under the theme ” Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture: levers for an inclusive and efficient Blue Economy“. The opportunity for operators in the maritime fishing, seafood processing and aquaculture sector to meet for the same cause and ambition in Agadir from February 1 to 5, 2023.

Endowed with a double Atlantic and Mediterranean maritime facade, Morocco has 3,500 km of rich and varied coasts. Made up of an inclusive economic zone of more than one million km2, Moroccan waters are reputed to be among the richest in fish in the world, allowing it to generate an annual production of around 1.5 million tonnes, thus placing Morocco at the forefront of fish producers in Africa, and the world’s leading producer and exporter of sardines (sardina pilchardus).

Indeed, in a statement to the press on the occasion of the 6th edition of the Halieutis Fair, Zakia Driouich, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Waters and Forests (Department of Maritime Fisheries), pointed out that ” the diversity of the agri-food industry of our Kingdom has enabled Morocco to occupy a leading position in the world trade in fishery products “, placing it as the main world exporter of canned sardines and semi-preserved anchovies and one of the world leaders in the export of octopus.

This is thanks in particular to the efforts made by the Department in terms of promoting the visibility of Moroccan fishery products on the international market, through the establishment of an institutional marketing strategy, the eco-certification of fisheries and the design of a labeling system based on the implementation of the ” Fisheries Label as an official sign of quality, she explained.

Regarding exports of seafood products from Morocco, the official said that they reached a volume of 883,000 tonnes (T) and a record value of 28 billion dirhams (MMDH) in 2022, according to provisional data available from Morocco Foodex.

An increase in volume related to the main export products, she specified, namely canned sardines (+9% or +12,000 T), frozen sardines (+43% or +67,000 T) and fishmeal and fish oil (+36% or +52,000 T), before noting that the turnover of exports is also the result of the increase in sales abroad of three products (canned sardines, frozen sardines and flour and fish oil) respectively by + 33%, + 71% and + 93% due to the increase in their volume and their average price (+ 23% for canned sardines, + 20% for frozen sardines and + 42% for fishmeal and fish oil).

Also, the value of exports of fish products affected about 130 countries according to provisional data from Morocco Foodex. In detail, Zakia Driouich indicated that ” our main markets are the EU (58%), Africa (15%), Europe outside the EU (9%), America (9%) and Asia (6.5%). On the country side, our main customers according to the provisional data of Morocco Foodex corresponding to the past year are: Spain (33%), Italy (10%), Turkey (5%), France (4%) and Japan (3%). As for the main products, we mention: canned sardines, frozen fish and fishmeal and fish oil.“,.

As for fishery products, whether fresh, frozen or processed, they are exported to practically all continents, underlines the manager, with a dominance of the European continent, noting that given the upheaval in all supply chains ( air, sea or land) with the covid-19 health crisis, new markets have emerged, including the West African markets.

In accordance with the provisions of the Plan Halieutis“, the Department of Maritime Fisheries has developed an Institutional Marketing strategy, in particular its competitiveness axis, aimed at promoting and strengthening the notoriety and brand image of Moroccan fish products and their positioning nationally and internationally and this, by communicating on the sector and by ensuring the collective promotion of Moroccan seafood products. The international component of this strategy mainly aims to promote exports of Moroccan fish products on international markets, she underlined.

Morocco 1st exporter of sardines

Morocco is the leading exporter of canned sardines, with 152,137 tonnes (T) in 2022, representing a value of around 5.9 billion dirhams (MMDH), revealed Zakia Driouich.

Due to its importance in terms of catches (64% of total catches), sardine fishing occupies a very important place in the activity of the maritime fishing sector in Morocco. Morocco also remains the leading exporter of canned sardines in the world with 152,137 T which represents nearly 5.9 billion dirhams in 2022 according to data from Morocco Foodex“, she detailed, before specifying that the economic importance of the sardine fishing activity in Morocco is not limited to catches, but also extends to the processing activity, particularly in its main activities namely canning, freezing and fresh.

Sardine fishing and its processing therefore play an important role, according to the official, in increasing Moroccan exports of seafood products, affirming that the diversity of the industrial fabric allows Morocco to occupy a leading position in trade. of fish products, being the world’s leading exporter of canned sardines.

The Maritime Fisheries Department has taken care to increase the level of supply of canning units, the manager stressed, whether existing or new, in particular through the various calls for expressions of interest launched, noting that the possible Supply difficulties in this industry may relate to considerations linked to the repercussions of international crises (purchase price of raw materials, cost of fuel, etc.).

At the social level, Zakia Driouich confided that this fishing activity generates several jobs, firstly at sea, in particular through a fleet of coastal seiners considered the most important in number and jobs created, or even on land, at the level of canneries and other processing units at the level of which the processing of sardines is the most important activity, she specified.

Notwithstanding, the development of the fishing activity of this species cannot be achieved without preserving this resource. Also, within the framework of the ‘Halieutis’ strategy in particular, its first axis of sustainability of the resource, a management plan for small pelagics, which mainly include sardines, has been in place since 2008 in order to protect these resources and thus enable sustainable fishing for operators“, said the manager.

That said, the fisheries sector is still exposed to several challenges, including climate change, overfishing, the repercussions of global crises (Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine), the sustainability of fisheries resources and the biological diversity of ecosystems. sailors, alerted the manager.

To preserve fisheries resources for future generations, the Department of Maritime Fisheries has implemented fisheries management plans, spatial planning of fisheries, the development of marine protected areas (MPAs) for fishing purposes and zoning. which constitutes a crucial project for the future of the sector.

The latter is more involved in the blue belt initiative and the strategy for the sustainable development of the fishing sector, explained Zakia, before arguing that ” this initiative (blue belt) aims to make fisheries and aquaculture a major factor in sustainable and inclusive economic growth and aims to support the emergence of integrated coastal observation systems and promote their integration at the global level for a more and more sustainable“.



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