As part of a Memorandum of Understanding between Morocco and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with funding from the European Union, a campaign to assess the impact of bottom trawling on demersal resources was conducted from 28 July to 07 August 2019 in the Mediterranean area of Morocco.
The objective of this analysis was to estimate the indices of abundance of demersal and benthic species in the Mediterranean area of Morocco, determine the spatial distribution of these species and study the biology of the main species exploited in the region.
This campaign was conducted in accordance with the work protocol of the International bottom trawl survey in the Mediterranean programme – Medits. This protocol, already used by some countries belonging to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), i.e. the countries of the European Union, is a standard protocol for harmonising sampling protocols and data collection and analysis methods. This will therefore allow scientifically sound advice for the conservation of stocks, in particular shared stocks.
The Department of Sea Fishing in Morocco and the Spanish International Foundation Women for Africa signed a protocol of understanding for the training of women in the fishing sector, in Rabat (Morocco), on Tuesday 28 May 2019.
The agreement was signed by the Secretary of State for Fisheries, Ms. Mbarka Bouida, by the President of the Women for Africa Foundation, Ms. Maria Teresa Fernandez de La Vega, in the presence of the Spanish Ambassador to Morocco, Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner Rodríguez.
Ms Bouida said that this cooperation aims to support women by creating jobs and improving their living conditions and that the achievement of this goal will be facilitated by the great experience of the Spanish Foundation.
According to a statement from the State Secretariat for Fisheries, the training programs reserved for women will be organized on board the ship of the Spanish General Fisheries Secretariat, ‘Intermares’, which will stop in Nador during the summer of 2019.
For over a couple of years, on the Moroccan coast, especially in the southern area of Cape Boujdor and, with lower densities, in the northern area between Agadir and Boujdor, there is an increasing presence of a fish, commonly called snipefish (Macroramphosus sp), as shown by the data reported by the National Research Institute (INRH) and by fishermen.
The fish population detected in the area is composed of two distinct species, Macroramphosus gracilis and Macroramphosus scolopax.
Known locally as rabouze, the snipefish is a small bony fish that feeds mainly on plankton and which, until now, has been of very little interest in human nutrition. It is mainly intended for the production of fish meal.
Monitoring of this species has shown a progressive migration of the snipefish from off shore waters to the areas along the coasts.
Its growing presence has caused concern among professionals in the sector for the consequences it could have on fish populations that represent the sources of livelihood in the local community.
Although there is no scientific data on the predatory action of the snipefish, the concerns of the operators in the sector mainly concern the possibility that it may represent a food competitor for the other stocks.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests commissioned the INRH to carry out a pilot study for the exploitation of snipefish.
The first tests have shown that the fish meal produced contains protein levels very similar to those of other species and is therefore of obvious economic interest.
As part of the awareness-raising activities on the marine environment and the conservation of fish resources, in May, the Regional Center of the National Institute for Fisheries Research in Nador (Morocco) hosted a group of students.
These students, accompanied by their professors, participated in a general presentation of the Center and its main missions, as well as the various programs and activities carried out within its laboratories.
Through their questions the students were able to explore all the aspects presented by the researchers of the center and discover many aspects of marine life, the various fish species and the tools to preserve these resources.
“Wetlands, river basins and local development” was the theme of the 2nd International Conference, organized by the multidisciplinary department of Nador, in collaboration with the Observatory of the Laguna Marchica of Nador and neighboring regions (OLMAN-RL) and the University Mohammed Premier of Oujda, from 25 to 27 April 2019.
The work began with the opening speech by the Rector of the department, who praised the efforts of the members of the organizing and scientific committees.
The Head of the Department of Biology, in his speech underlined the importance of studying wetlands, very numerous in the Eastern Region of Morocco and their role in local development. He also highlighted the importance of preserving these areas as a very important natural heritage.
The participants in this congress discussed topics related to the environment and aquaculture, wetland culture and wetland conservation and development.
The event also highlighted the important role played by wetlands in sustainable development.
On the second day of the Congress, a visit to some areas of the region was organized, including Mount Gourgou, the mouth of Wad Kert and the Marchica lagoon of Nador, which are classified as RAMSAR sites, ie wetlands of international interest, based on the intergovernmental treaty, signed in Ramsar (Iran) in 1971, which establishes actions for the conservation and rational use of wetlands and their resources.
The Mediterranean Maritime Fisheries Chamber, in collaboration with the Maritime Rehabilitation Center and the Delegation for Sea Fishing in Nador, organized a regional campaign on maritime safety.
During the initiative, the role and importance of safety at sea were discussed, along with the indispensable precautions on board for the safety of sailors, the risks associated with navigation and the prevention of accidents at sea. The discussion was supported by practical exercises, especially regarding the behavior to be adopted in the event of accidents.
The meeting was organized to raise the awareness of fishing vessel captains to the adoption of all the necessary measures to guarantee safety on board, to arouse greater attention on the risks associated with the activity at sea.
The organizers of the meeting underlined the necessity for the adoption of some procedures, before the navigation, like the maintenance of the boats before the beginning of the fishing season. They also highlighted the importance of using the necessary maritime safety equipment, such as life jackets, life jackets and all other necessary equipment for each fishing expedition.
On March 8, 2019, on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, a ceremony was held to present certificates for participation in the training course on sea crafts, organized for women from the fishing village of Belyounech, in the Mediterranean Moroccan.
The training was organized by the Maritime Fisheries Institute of Larache (Morocco), in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), under the supervision of the Maritime Fisheries Department.
The delegate of Department of the region of M’diq (Morocco), has declared that this event has allowed to make to know the maritime activities developed from the women of the northern region of Morocco. He also stressed the Administration’s commitment to provide all legal and regulatory assistance to ensure the integration of women in the maritime trade sector and respect for their rights.
The Delegate also stated that this cooperative, which is being created, will improve the economic and social conditions of women in the region, as it will allow the creation of new women’s cooperatives in the sector and the increase in the competitiveness of these cooperatives, which will create a new added value for the benefit of local communities.
A mussel breeding project was started in the Cala Iris region (Al Hoceima), in the Moroccan Mediterranean, for the benefit of the local fishermen’s cooperative, with the aim of providing them with new opportunities for diversifying traditional fishing activities and introducing new techniques to enhance the production and marketing of fish products and improve their income.
As part of this initiative, the canals for breeding two species of Mediterranean mussels were created in the area. The construction of a mussel purification station according to international standards and requirements is also envisaged.
The amount of this investment, which is close to 1.2 million DHS, also includes a training and supervision plan to allow fishermen to acquire the necessary skills to manage this activity and to improve mussel breeding techniques and marketing tools for this type of market.
From 21st to 24th February 2019, the 5th edition of the Halieutis exhibition was held in Agadir (Morocco), with the theme “New technologies in fishing: for a better contribution of fishing in the blue economy”.
Halieutis is the exhibition dedicated to professionals in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, for the enhancement of marine products. The expo that has hosted over 250 exhibitors from 40 different countries has become a point of reference over the years for the sector.
This edition was characterized by the participation of several leading countries in the fishing industry and by the presence of companies specialized in equipment and equipment for fishing and maritime navigation of new generation.
Halieutis aims to encourage exchanges and collaborations between the various operators in the sector through exhibition spaces, conferences and BtoB meetings.
On Monday, 14 January 2019, a new bilateral agreement was signed between Morocco and the European Union, establishing the conditions of access for the European fleet to the Moroccan coast fishing areas.
The agreement covers the entire fishing area between the 35th and the 22nd parallel, from Capo Spartel to Cap Blanc, located north and south of the Atlantic coast of Morocco, respectively.
Specifically, the agreement defines the permitted fishing zones and the access conditions of the fleet, while setting the deadlines for sustainable fishing that takes into account the need to protect fish stocks and the marine environment.
The agreement also provides for an increase in the contribution of the European Union from € 40.2 million to € 52.2 million, compared to the previous agreement with an increase of 30%.