Sea Fishing: A Locomotive of Socio-economic Development
The South of Morocco is noted for its remarkably abundant and varied halieutic resources (In 2002, for instance, production stood at 700,000 tons). The Southern Atlantic coastlines do, in fact, hold tremendous potential in the area of fishing. As such these 1,700 kilometers of coastlines constitute a genuine lever of economic growth.
By way of example, the coastline stretching along the Laāyoune-Boujdour-Sakia-el-Hamra region account for as much as 20% of the Kingdom’s Atlantic coastlines. Within the framework of the economic and social development of the Southern part of the Kingdom, the construction of “Fishermen’s Villages” stands out as a priority and a means of strategic development inasmuch as it would, in due course, pave the way for the reassembly and settling of the targeted populations, as well as serve as an effective measure against the proliferation of insalubrious housing.
Two strategic actions are thus provided for: the upgrading of the existing sites and the creation of new “Fishermen’s Villages” on selected sites. These villages will be endowed with basic infrastructures, housing quarters, in addition to commercial and social facilities. In this respect, an integrated program has been devised which would cost upwards of 1 billion Dirhams, of which a budged worth 915 million Dirhams will be allocated to the creation of 7 micro-development projects (Fishing Villages).
The program also provides for the conclusion of a frame-convention designed to modernize and upgrade the traditional fishing sector and to complete 10 construction projects besides the setting up of covered fish markets outside the fishing villages. The program also aims to orient fishermen towards sustainable and lasting fishing activities, through the training and integration of fishermen in sundry fishing trades and the creation of small enterprises in traditional fishing.
In Laāyoune, the Capital of the Moroccan Sahara, the efforts made by the State in the sea-fishing sector have led to the emergence of an industrial fabric comprising the following: 9 fish oil and fish meal production units; 17 freezing units; 2 canning units; and 7 ice-making units. In Laāyoune and Tarfaya harbors, as many as 537 coastal fishing units are currently in operation, employing 16,000 fishermen and producing some 400,000 tons of fish, including 12,000 of white fish (according to 2005 figures). Traditional fishing consists of 408 boats, employing some 1224 fishermen.
In order to ensure rational exploitation of sea resources, public authorities have undertaken the development of adequate harbor facilities. For one, the Laāyoune harbor, which was put into service in 1985, is now witnessing the construction of a new pilot (covered) fish-market. Launched in 2005, the construction work covers a total surface area of 8,200 square meters in full compliance with international standards in the marketing of fish. Located some 25 kilometers away from the city, the Laāyoune harbor is a beehive of activities which continue to grow steadily.
The main activities of the harbor relate mainly to the following: the export of fine sand to the Canary Islands; periodic docking of oil tankers for fueling; the exploitation of halieutic resources; the export of processed fish produce (fish oil and fish meal; canned fish; and frozen sea-food); as well as goods freight.
To ensure that the resources are exploited in a rational and sustainable way, public authorities have also set up adequate harbor facilities. Thus, the fish produce unloaded in the harbor is marketed by the National Fisheries Office, through 2 covered fish markets which are located, respectively, in Laāyoune and Tarfaya.
The processing industries linked to the sea-fishing sector are as follows:
- 09 units for the manufacture of fish meal and fish oil;
- 17 freezing units;
- 2 canning units;
- 07 ice-making units.
As for the armament and vessels operating in coastal fishing from the Laāyoune and Tarfaya harbors, they consist of the following:
Source: the Wilaya of Laâyoune Region
The number of fishermen operating aboard these units adds up to 15,816. Other figures from Dakhla will be added in the very near future.