Morocco-Safi: Collection of red algae, a high added value sector
01 nov 2021 The collection of this "red gold", along the coast of the province of Safi, extended over 150 km and rich in fields of seaweed, from which is extracted the agar-agar, a very precious and highly prized product in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and agro-food sectors among others, is thus the main source of subsistence for many households during the year.
With a production of 956,535 kg recorded in 2020 in Safi, this sector generated some 3,826,140 DH, according to data from the Provincial Maritime Fisheries Delegation. The same source notes that this collection of marine algae in Souiria Lakdima for the same year generated some 2,251,496 DH (582,874 kg).
Ibrahim Rainouss, Secretary General of the “Al Mohit” Cooperative (Ocean) specified that divers can pick nearly 1.5 tons per day and that the harvest only takes place if the climatic conditions are favorable, ie 25 to 30 maximum days over the 3 months (July, August and September) fixed by the decision of the Department of Maritime Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests.
Regarding the prices charged during the current campaign, he noted that the price per wet kg is in a range of 3.5 to 4 DH. While some divers prefer to sell their harvests of red algae, in wet form (freshly landed) the same day they are picked, the Al Mohit cooperative opts for drying the red algae in the sun for several days before selling them directly to specialized industrial units.
Mr. Rainouss, at the same time, explained that the sale in dry form brings more for this cooperative, of which the great majority of the members do not exercise any other activity the rest of the year, apart from a few who practice small scale fishing.
Over the years and gradually, he continued, the regulation of this activity has been favorably received by the trades people, who have realized that these measures aimed at combating "poaching" and " anarchic exploitation ”, which continues throughout the year, have been implemented in their interests, especially since they have allowed the natural regeneration of stocks and the preservation of fishery resources.