MOROCCO – The Netherlands and Norway have contributed US$2.5 million to the Moroccan aquaculture project aimed to promote the country’s fish farming industry.

Norway’s financial contribution to the project amounted to US$1.65 million, while the Netherlands injected US$0.85 million.

The UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) also supports the initiative, which is a joint effort of the Moroccan Fisheries Department and the National Aquaculture Development Agency.

The funds will go towards installing a training station for fish and shellfish production in the southern province of Sidi Ifni.

The project targets to train local aquaculture technicians and providing them with professional training for upcoming projects set to launch along the country’s Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts.

In addition to that, it falls within Morocco’s fishing strategy, “Halieutis” which is set to create new industrial platforms and improve the professional management of the country’s fishery resources.

On February 7, King Mohammed VI inaugurated a new fishing dock in the town of Imourane, near Agadir. The project cost around MAD 24.6 million (US$2.32 million) and will benefit more than 130 fishermen from the coastal town.

Also a similar project in the town of Gourizim, near Tiznit, has been built with a budget of MAD 19.8 million (US$2.03 million).

The country is currently developing 24 aquaculture projects, notably the shellfish farming areas of Imi Ouaddar, Imsouane, and Tifnit, along with seaweed farming projects in Sidi Rbat.

Being a lucrative economic activity in the country, the port of Morocco’s southern city of Dakhla landed more than 605.34 million tons of fish in 2019, with an overall value of MAD 2.25 billion (US$227 million).

This represents an increase of 0.82% in value and 2.93% in weight compared to one year earlier.

In 2018, fishermen landed 587.58 million tons of fish in the port, worth over MAD 2.23 billion (US$225 million).

According to Maghreb Arab Press, the country has significant fishing potential, representing 65% of the national usable potential i.e. 80% pelagic fish and 20% demersal fish.

Several economic and infrastructure assets have helped in the sector’s growth, including two ports and a third under construction, six fishing villages equipped with fish markets, a maritime qualification center and a regional center of the National Fisheries Research Institute (INRH).