Morocco’s fish and seafood export volumes rise by 6% despite decline in production

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MOROCCO – 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, according to Morocco World News, totalled 570,000 tonnes, a 7% rise from the corresponding period in 2019.

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“Despite the difficult conditions this year, characterized by significant disturbance due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the exports of maritime products recorded a 7% increase,” said the ministry’s fisheries department in a press release.

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).

This is a 6% annual increase in volume and a 5% increase in value.

The growth in canned sardines’ exports is mainly due to increased exportation to Mauritania, the US, and Ghana, the agriculture ministry announced.

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In term of the highest earning exported seafood, frozen mollusks 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).

Morocco’s overall production slightly decreased by 3% to 987,000 tonnes.

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

As of September, Morocco 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.

Despite the rise in export volumes and values, the country’s overall production slightly decreased by 3% to 987,000 tonnes.

The slight decrease in production is due to the temporary pandemic-induced suspension of fishing activities in some Moroccan ports.

The production’s value stood at MAD 9.6 billion (US$1.04 billion), 4% lower than in 2019, partly due to the fall in fish prices because of lower demand, both domestically and internationally, during the COVID-19 crisis.

Hotels and restaurants, for instance, were no longer able to make orders because of their closure, the ministry explained.

In domestic wholesale markets, however, the volume of fish and maritime products sold increased by 16% and reached 130,661 tonnes.

The products’ overall value also recorded a 19% increase and stood at MAD 533.8 million (US$57.75 million).

The government is seeking to inject 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.

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

The project is in line with the country’s strategy of promoting and developing aquaculture, a growing industry in Souss-Massa.

The region has more than 4,000 hectares dedicated to fish production spread across four zones.

Souss-Massa currently has around two dozen aquaculture projects in development, notably shellfish farming in Imi Ouaddar, Imsouane, and Tifnit, and with seaweed farming in Sidi Rbat.

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