MOROCCO –  Morocco has acquired a US$12.3 million new and its first marine fish hatchery project to stimulate aquaculture in the country which is struggling to take off.

According to Mohamed Sadiki, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests, the hatchery is expected to produce up to 30 million fingerlings of sea bream, bass and meagre, as well as those of other farmed fish species to serve national aquaculture farms.

“The production of fingerlings is considered an essential integration lever to secure the viability of aquaculture projects specializing in fish farming,” Mr Sadiki said.

This hatchery project is the first fish seed production project in Morocco for which the State grants financial support in the form of an investment premium for the purchase of hatchery equipment.”

The Regional Investment Centre of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region has been in charge of obtaining the necessary permits for the support of the National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture in the implementation of this project. 

Minister Sadiki added that the sector benefits from a great interest in the framework of the “Halieutis” plan, which will allow Morocco to increase its production and the development of the marine fisheries sector in a balanced, qualitative and sustainable manner.

The construction of this commercial marine fish hatchery is part of the national “Halieutis” 2020 plan, which focuses on the preservation of fishery resources and the marine ecosystem through the promotion of national fish consumption, the increase and number of jobs related to industry and agriculture, and the strengthening of the contribution of the fisheries sector to the national economy.”

In addition, the director of the National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture, Majida Maarouf, noted that the project is in line with the strategies of the National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture.

The strategies spares no effort to support such projects as part of the implementation of Morocco’s wise and long-term policy in the field of aquaculture and to provide a suitable platform for investment in the sector, which is undergoing significant and tangible developments,”

However, the project not only aimed to support the national economy in the marine fisheries sector but also contribute to the preservation of natural resources and the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector. 

Fisheries and aquaculture are one of Morocco’s most important economic sectors, with the country ranking 13th worldwide and first in Africa last year in fish production.

Nearly 5,000 tons of the country’s fishing products so far come from the Mediterranean ports, whose quantity of product decreased by 13%, the value saw a 9% increase in 2022, according to a report from Morocco’s National Fisheries Office (ONP).

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