Oslo: Agriculture Minister Highlights Sustainable Management of Fisheries Sector in Morocco
Oslo – Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forestry, Aziz Akhannouch, highlighted, on Wednesday in Oslo, the Moroccan approach to sustainable management of the fisheries sector and the Kingdom’s efforts to combat climate change.
“Morocco has integrated sustainability at the heart of its sectoral fisheries strategy and has worked to encourage a paradigm shift in production from a quantitative to a qualitative mode,” said Akkhannouch. He was speaking during a panel entitled “Facing the challenges: taking action on climate change”, held as part of the 6th Our Ocean Conference in Norway.
In this regard, the minister recalled that the country’s fish production reaches 1.4 million tons annually while exports amounted to 2.4 billion dollars in 2018, adding that a total of 200,000 people live directly from fishing, including 50,000 from artisanal fishing.
In recent years, considerable resources have been deployed to strengthen national fisheries research, including the establishment of a series of fisheries management plans, VMS monitoring of fishing vessels and catch traceability, he said, stressing that thanks to these efforts, 96% of catches landed in Morocco are managed sustainably through a series of measures, notably quotas.
In an effort to adapt to climate change and the degradation of fish stocks, the minister noted that Morocco is supporting particularly vulnerable small-scale artisanal and coastal fishing communities, pointing out that a very significant investment has been made to improve their performance and production systems through developed unloading points and fishing villages along the coast every 50 km.
He explained that these infrastructures improve the working conditions of fishermen and enable them to enhance the value of their catches by selling them in modern halls, noting that the 43 sites built account for more than 60% of the turnover of small-scale fishing.
At the conference, Akhannouch announced the acquisition for $61 million of a new oceanographic research vessel, noting that this 48-metre vessel, intended for multidisciplinary research on the marine ecosystem and climate change issues, will be delivered in 2021 and will be able to carry more than 15 scientists, in total autonomy for a period of 30 days.
Regarding the challenges posed by climate change, he said that this issue is “of crucial importance for the Kingdom, a major fishing producer, which makes our country more than attentive to this matter, the main challenge of which is to ensure the sustainability of this sector”.
“We should all be aware of one thing, a preserved ocean is an ocean that continues to fulfill a role as a climate regulator, namely to absorb excess heat and CO2 generated by human activities,” he said.
Organized by the Norwegian ministry of Foreign Affairs, the 6th Our Ocean Conference brings together 500 delegates from about 100 countries, including Morocco, to share their experiences, identify solutions and act for clean, healthy and productive oceans.
Morocco is present in this major event by a delegation led by Aziz Akhannouch, and composed of Lamia Radi, Morocco’s ambassador to Norway, Zakia Driouich, secretary general of the Department of Fisheries, Majida Mâarouf, director of the National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture, and Abdelmalek Faraj, director of the National Fisheries Research Institute.