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Morocco sets ambitious aquaculture and fisheries targets

Morocco, whose coasts are home to substantial fishing resources, has released a maritime strategy - “Plan Halieutis” (Halieutis Strategy) - aiming to develop use of its marine resources sustainably, generating jobs and added value, and setting ambitious targets for 2020.

For example, with coasts home to more than 500 commercial species the country is targeting 200,000 tonnes per annum in marine species harvests (seaweeds, bivalves, fishes, and shellfish) by 2020. However, to reach such levels of production, it is critical that zones where such production levels can be sustained are identified. It is essential that this fishing potential is protected by conducting biological monitoring throughout the food chain, reducing un-sustainable dependence on only a few species (e.g. 80% of the total harvest currently is composed of small pelagics, of which sardines compose 80%). This represents a real challenge considering the scale of scientific work required, also applying to coastal aquaculture, where coastal zones are constantly under threat of degradation through expanding anthropogenic activities.

UH2C’s participation in SAFI contributes a key part to implementing the “Plan Halieutis”. In providing the developing aquaculture and fisheries sectors with information from research into key species of commercial interest, and information from satellite observations, it will better enable them to make sound decisions when managing activities in Morocco’s maritime zones in the future.

Oudia Tazi (Universite Hassan II Casablanca)

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