Having 3500 km stretch of shoreline, the Kingdom of Morocco holds a solid tradition of aquatic fisheries. In 2014, its state fisheries production amounted to 1.3M tons, making it Africa’s biggest maritime fisheries producer and gaining the 25th spot worldwide.
The fishery industry in Morocco contributes about 2.3% to the gross domestic product or GDP, creating direct employment for more than a hundred thousand fishermen. An estimated 3M Moroccan people depend on their life source on fisheries.
It is in this idea that aquaculture in the country is very promising. As early as the 1950s, some mariculture like sea bass, sea bream, and shrimp was introduced in Morocco which undergone expansive growth in the 1980s. It was in 2009, during the launch of the new national fisheries plan called Halieutis, containing provisions for vital growth in aquaculture together with continued work in sustainable fisheries, has carried out a new momentum for the fishery industry. Two years later, the government, in support of its ambition, also created a specific agency called the National Agency for Aquaculture Development.
Morocco’s plan to double seafood exports by 2020
The government of Morocco launched large-scale plans to solidify its fishery industry, planning to take full advantage of the nation’s more than 3 thousand kilometers of marine coastline, fronting both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Morocco, with its 3,500 km coastline, exports roughly 80,000 tons of octopus yearly, more than 600,000 tons of frozen, fresh and canned seafood and fish products valued at €1.6bn every year. It supplies each year 1.2M metric tons of pelagic fish which includes sardines. About 139,000 tons of canned sardine is being exported and valued to be at $390m, of which around half of it is distributed to other African markets. These figures helped the nation become the largest producer of sardine and exporter of canned sardines in the world.
Morocco, at present, is Africa’s largest maritime fisheries producer and the world’s 17th largest producer of seafood, fishing and harvesting a total of more or less 1.5 million metric tons of seafood annually. The fishing industry accounts for 58 percent of the country’s food agriculture exports and seven percent of its total exports. As per the National Fisheries Office, the fishing industry produced $1.59 billion in exports in 2015. The Halieutis plan seeks to grow the value of seafood exports to over $ 3.10 billion by 2020.
Aquaculture was first introduced to Morocco in the 1950s with fresh sea bass, sea bream, and shrimp farms in the Mediterranean, and began a slow expansion from the 1980s. Cultivation of these species is expected to grow alongside shellfish such as oysters, mussels, abalone, and clams.
In 2016, the Morocco king opened the nation’s first marketable shellfish hatchery and farm. Established by Azura Aquaculture, the two-acre facility is a portion of a more expansive program created under the Halieutis plan and will play a part to advancing the sustainability of resources in the Dakhla-Oued Ed-dahab region on the Atlantic coast. It will also support the marketing of shellfish farming and the processing and promotion of roughly 1,000 metric tons of clams, oysters, and abalone. Specifically, it is tasked with reducing the animal health risks in relation to the importation of these species.