Will fishing be soon overtaken by a trend toward aquaculture? This is at least what comes out of the open day on aquaculture development perspectives in the Mediterranean held on Thursday, April 16th in Nador.
The various national and international actors in the sector seem to converge towards the need to develop aquaculture with the interests of sustainability. "With the decline of marine resources, aquaculture is trying to emerge as a sustainable and reasonable alternative," according to Mr Abdellatif Belkouch, director of INFOSAMAK centre.
It must be said that this is a global trend. Fish consumption in the world is increasing and natural resources of the planet will soon be unable to support this request. Today, two fish for consumption is produced from aquaculture. "In the past, the man lived on hunting and fishing. Today he no longer hunts. How long will he continue to fish? ", Asked Mr. François René, President of the aquaculture committee of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), recalling that the fish is now the commodity most traded in the world.
Morocco, first source of fish in the Euro-Mediterranean area, can no longer remain on the sidelines. "Fishing is not only a major driver of the national economy, but business is deeply rooted in our culture," according to Mrs Majida Maârouf, Director of the National Agency for the development of aquaculture (ANDA) . She said the practice of aquaculture in Morocco nevertheless remains in the embryonic stage because it is facing a number of brakes.
"Aquaculture is largely dependent on scientific research," according to Mrs Majida Maârouf, noting that Morocco still has a lot of catching up in this area. Land access is also one of the obstacles facing the sector: Coastal land scarcity of and competition from real estate and tourist projects make difficult the development of land areas along the coastline for the development of marine aquaculture. The high cost of investment as well as the tight competition at the international level are also included in these constraints.
The sector has experienced a renewed interest in 2009 with the launching of Halieutis plan. The sector plans also to make aquaculture an important engine of economic growth by focusing primarily on sustainability. This particular attention to the area has taken shape in 2011 with the creation of the National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture (ANDA). Today, the agency is working on five areas identified as having significant potential for aquaculture.