Fisheries and aquaculture play an important role in socio-economic terms and as a source of food. However, over the years there has not been any stable progress in increasing the production levels of fisheries. In 1988, fishery production reached 102 tonnes, but declined in the 1990s, and then slowly returned back to the same production level of 102 tonnes in 2004. It was not until the last two years that the annual fisheries catch reached 110 tonnes. Annual per capita consumption followed the same trend (from 13.5 kg in 1988 it fell to 8.5 in 1990, rising again in recent years to 9.5 kg) with a very skewed regional breakdown, due to the fact that annual per capita consumption in the interior regions is below 1.5 kg.
A way to combat this challenge is to consider marine aquaculture spatial planning, which consists of the identification of suitable areas (onshore, offshore and inshore) to exercise activity in marine aquaculture. The aquaculture activity encompasses shellfish farming, seaweed farming, and fish farming. It is implemented through the setting up of aquaculture development spatial plans that identify, in addition to favorable areas, potential species and their appropriate farming/culture techniques.
The methodology adopted for the realization of the aquaculture plans was initiated in 2013 as part of the first plan carried out at the level of the bay of Dakhla until Cintra Bay (Region of Dakhla-Oued Eddahab). This methodology has its particularity in applying a progressive selection approach, which takes into account all the technical, environmental and administrative parameters, in identifying the most conducive areas to the exercise of sustainable aquaculture that respects the environment. This approach has also allowed the organization of the aquaculture sector at national level, through the provision of turn-key projects to potential investors as part of calls for expression of interest. Moroccan public institution in charge of the development of this sector relies both on a detailed diagnosis and an in-depth analysis of a set of administrative, legal, environmental, technical and socio-economic feasibility criteria, and on a participatory approach involving all the actors of the territory concerned by marine and coastal spatial planning.
In order to ensure the sustainability of aquaculture activity, several environmental integration instruments are taken into account, from the planning and selection sites phase to the operational phase. The study of the carrying capacity consists in the assessment of the capacity of the receiving environment to host aquaculture projects, it is illustrated by the physical, productive, ecological and social load capacity, and this ensures the sustainability of the activity and the receiving environment.
The overall environmental impact assessment for an aquaculture management plan is useful in that it allows the cumulative impacts generated by the multitude of projects located in a given area to be calculated and assessed and to present mitigation measures adapted accordingly, unlike isolated environmental impact studies, which are specific to each individual project and do not allow this exercise to take place. These tools are multi-form and apply at different levels such as : i) Study of carrying capacities during the site selection phase, ii) Realization of Environmental Impact studies focusing on negative significant impacts of aquaculture and also the positive impacts of this activity, which result in the proposal of effective mitigation and enhancement measures (iii) Environmental and Social Management Plans, necessary for environmental and social monitoring of aquaculture plans.
- Aquaculture plan in the Region of Dakhla Oued Ed Dahab: from the Bay of Dakhla to the bay of Cintra / End of study (August 2015), implementation through the launch of a call for expressions of interest (November 2015);
- Aquaculture plan in the Regions of Souss Massa and Guelmim Oued Noun : from Imessouane to Sidi Ifni / End of study (April 2017), implementation in preparation;
- Aquaculture plan in the Mediterranean Region: from Cap Targha to Saidia / End of study planned in August 2017, implementation in preparation;
- Aquaculture plan in the Regions of Guelmim Oued Noun and Laayoune Sakia El Hamra : from Guelmim to Boujdour / under construction ;
- Aquaculture plan in the Regions of Casablanca Settat and Marrakech Safi : from El Jadida to Essaouira / under construction.
Aquaculture plans have assessed the real aquaculture potential of the national coastline, based on reliable data and knowledge of the marine environment, and that, after analyzing all forms of current and future activities, uses, and occupations. The participatory planning approach adopted by ANDA, involving all local, regional and central actors concerned by maritime and land coastal area, constitutes an anticipation of sectoral integration allowing the optimization and the harmonization of the use of coastal areas while enhancing the assets of the coastal ecosystem.
Owing to the new methodology applied the following outcomes were achieved:
- Establishment of a mapping of Allocated Areas for Aquaculture (AAA) (onshore, offshore and inshore) with a comprehensive database;
- Identification of potential species and proposal of appropriate technologies;
- Establishment of parceling plans: The parceling plan is the penultimate step in the planning process and consists of the fragmentation of previously identified aquaculture favorable polygons. Therefore, during this step and on the basis of the superposition of all previously identified parameters (dissolved oxygen, temperature, currents, etc.), a socio-economic study and a pre-established weighting, those polygons are broken up into economically viable units, whose production, technique and type of farming are identified.
- The turn-key projects proposed as part of the planning at the Dakhla, Souss-Massa and Mediterranean Regions have been launched for investment via calls for expression of interest. The progress of the implementation of these 3 plans is as follows:
- Dakhla-Cintra zone: The official publication of the results of the call for expressions of interest was made on 21st September 2017;
- Souss-Massa Region: the call for expressions of interest was launched on 27 December 2017;
- Mediterranean Region: the call for expressions of interest was launched on 18th July 2017.
This solution also provides potential investors with areas studied at all levels, exempting them from these expensive studies and also avoiding their anarchic installation and enabling the local populations at the selected sites to benefit from artisanal aquaculture projects planned within the framework of cooperatives, in order to improve the living conditions of these populations. It also a reason for the creation of wealth and provides direct and indirect jobs and regional socio-economic growth. It is also interesting to note that the protection of the marine environment is also among the important impact of the solution.
Overall, the aquaculture plans enabled the establishment of an exhaustive and a consolidated mapping database, which served as a tool for the location and the planning of the activity. They also assist in monitoring and providing investors with turnkey projects, as well as suitable areas to host productive and sustainable aquaculture activity. As a consequence, this mapping database on the environment allows investors to better plan and design their projects, which in turn will assist in increasing fishery production levels over the coming years.
Budget: $1,8 million
National Aquaculture Development Agency
+212 538 099 700