Seminar on Japan’s Advanced Refrigeration System and its potential contributions to the promotion of the fisheries sector in Morocco

Morocco has been the leading exporter of fishery products in Africa for decades and has exported nearly 723,000 tons worth more than 22.5 billion DH in 2018. Frozen and canned products constitute the bulk of the exported volume (49% and 24% respectively).

The share of fresh products remains limited to 2.2% (16,000 t) in weight and 6.6% (1,491 million DH) in value, and Morocco is classified as the second largest exporter in this category among African countries after Mauritania and the trend is downward (the highest record was reached in 2002 with 71,000 t). These fresh products are mainly destined for the European market, where higher prices are obtained. Given that similar products from other countries also compete in the same market, it is essential that Moroccan products maintain the highest quality and a good reputation in order to obtain comparative advantages over other products as advocated by the "competitiveness" axis, one of the three pillars of the Halieutis strategy.

Recognizing this need, a Japanese company "MARS Company", specializing in applied refrigeration industries in the agri-food sector, carried out a scientific study to evaluate the effectiveness of two advanced technologies, in consultation with the Department of Maritime Fisheries and with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency: the "Seasnow" flake ice produced from controlled salt water and the "Kuraban" refrigeration system, which reduce bacterial growth and keep food fresher for longer, in the Moroccan environment.

The Centre has been charged with the scientific evaluation of the performance of these technological innovations using samples of different locally exploited species such as the…

The results of the experiments conducted by researchers from the Specialized Centre for the Valorization and Technology of Sea Products (CSVTPM) of the National Institute for Fisheries Research (INRH) on a group of marine species (sea bream, cuttlefish, shrimps and sardines) were presented to the stakeholders of the Moroccan fisheries sector during a dissemination seminar organized on 11 December in Agadir. This study confirms the performance of these new technologies which allow doubling the conservation of fishery products compared to traditional systems.

During the seminar, it was stressed that the use of these technological innovations is likely to improve the fish supply chain, both for value-added industries such as the canning and semi-canning industries, and to promote the export of fresh fish, the share of which has been declining over the last five years both in weight and value (2.2% and 6.6% in 2018, respectively).