Industry requires an adaptive approach to climate change

The fishing industry today requires a continuous and adaptive approach to respond to persistent challenges such as overfishing and climate change, said Wednesday in Casablanca, the Director of Maritime Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Maritime, Rural Development and Water and Forests, Bouchta Aichane.

Speaking during a panel organized as part of the 3rd edition of the International Fisheries Industry Forum in Morocco, under the theme “Scientific research serving the sustainability of fisheries resources”, Mr. Aichane explained that this approach includes technical measures, science-based management and international cooperation to ensure the sustainability of marine resources and maintain access to international markets.

A territorial approach is favored, with spatial management of fishing effort and the creation of marine protected areas, he said, noting that while this approach has already been initiated in certain regions, it is being rolled out in others, with particular attention to international requirements such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Moratorium Protection Act.

Morocco also strives to comply with international standards such as those of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (CGPM), which allows it to maintain its exports to key markets such as the United States, noted Mr. Aichane, specifying that positive certificates have been obtained, testifying to the country’s continued commitment to sustainability and compliance with international regulations.

He said the sustainability of the fishing industry is a primary objective for the Department of Fisheries, reflecting a long-standing commitment to sustainable resource management, a process which began in the 1970s with the introduction of fisheries licensing. fishing, then evolving to meet international standards thanks to the halieutis strategy.

In this sense, he indicated that the current system of the Department of Maritime Fisheries is based on the scientific recommendations of the National Institute of Fisheries Research (INRH) and regional organizations, aimed at controlling fishing mortality through licenses and quotas, and on technical measures put in place to limit harmful effects on stocks and vulnerable species, emphasizing that this management is reinforced by operational mechanisms and covers more than 30 fish stocks and coastal species.

For his part, the regional director of the National Food Safety Office (ONSSA) of Casablanca-Settat, Mohammed Zardoune, indicated that in collaboration with the competent authorities and players in the sector, in particular the INRH, ONSSA works to prevent and control health risks in order to ensure the safety of seafood products intended for human consumption.

“Controlling health risks is of crucial importance to ensure the sustainability of the maritime sector, because by guaranteeing the quality and safety of seafood products, we ensure the economic viability of the fishing industry in the long term,” declared Mr. Zardoune.

To this end, he continued, ONSSA implements rigorous monitoring plans, covering the entire supply chain, from capture to marketing of seafood, in order to detect any potential health risk and to remedy it.

Collaboration with sector stakeholders constitutes a cornerstone of ONSSA’s commitment to food security, public health and the economic sustainability of the maritime sector, he stressed.

For her part, the representative of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Carmen Gonzales, reiterated the importance of collaboration between processors, producers and authorities for responsible management of resources, and scientific research to provide objective recommendations to guide the decisions.

To meet the growing demand for fishery products, transparent data and adapted strategies are necessary, she said, noting that the regular publication of data on fishing activities is essential to accurately assess stocks and develop adapted strategies. .

He added that it is imperative to strengthen the development of fisheries sciences and promote collaboration between research and industry, especially since the integration of technologies such as artificial intelligence can improve resource management. .

Organized by the National Federation of Fishing Products Processing and Valorization Industries (FENIP) in partnership with the Swiss Import Promotion Program (SIPPO) and the General Commission for Mediterranean Fisheries (CGPM), the Forum brings together the major players from the fishing industry, as well as government officials, researchers, private sector companies and international partners.

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