MOROCCO – Morocco is ramping up investment in its fish and aquaculture sector as it seeks to bolster the economic value of the multi-million-dollar sector.

The North African country has announced its readiness to launch 24 aquaculture projects in Souss-Massa, to include 20 shellfish farming in Imi Ouaddar, Imsouane, and Tifnit and 4 seaweed farming in Sidi Rbat.

The ventures are part of the National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture’s (ANDA) plan to boost the sector.

With a total budget of MAD 248 million (US$27.2 million), ANDA forecasts a production of 13,000 tonnes by 2023, in addition to the creation of 319 direct jobs.

The regional council allocated a sum of MAD 20 million (US$2.2 million) to the initiative, while the Department of Maritime Fisheries injected MAD 12 million (US$1.3 million).

Morocco earned MAD 15.3 billion (US$1.66 billion) from the export of fish and seafood in the first nine months of 2020.

The growing sector of aquaculture in Morocco has also attracted foreign investment.

In May, the Netherlands and Norway contributed US$2.5 million to an aquaculture project in the southern province of Sidi Ifni.

The UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) also supports the initiative, and the funds will go towards installing a training station for fish and shellfish production.

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

This was followed with the government injecting MAD 13 million (US$1.4 million) for the establishment of a packaging factory and valuation units for aquaculture products in Imi Ouaddar, Souss-Massa.

The facility it will need more than 9,000 tons of shellfish and seaweed per year and is set to create some 25 direct jobs.

Morocco earned MAD 15.3 billion (US$1.66 billion) from the export of fish and seafood in the first nine months of 2020.

The total exported amounts totalled 570,000 tonnes, a 7% rise from the corresponding period in 2019.

Canned sardines were the country’s highest exported product by volume, amounting to 116,850 tonnes worth MAD 3.6 billion (US$389.44 million).

In term of the highest earning exported seafood, frozen molluscs including octopus, recorded a significant annual rise of 28%.

These exports reached a total volume of 83,075 tonnes and a value of MAD 5.1 billion (US$551.71 million).

Fish oil exports on the other hand witnessed the highest annual increase in volume at 40%.

As of September, the country had exported 32,7400 tonnes of fish oil for a revenue of MAD 553.3 million (US$59.86 million) to France, the Netherlands, and China.

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