Morocco takes part in the sixth Our Ocean Conference in Oslo

Morocco takes part in the sixth Our Ocean Conference in Oslo

Morocco is taking part in the sixth Our Ocean Conference held in Oslo, Norway Oct.23-24 that is highlighting the importance of knowledge as the basis for countries’ actions and policies to ensure protection of our ocean, responsible management of marine resources and sustainable future economic growth.

The conference, bringing together government officials, and leaders from businesses, civil society and research institutions, provides an opportunity to share experience, identify solutions and commit to action for a clean, healthy and productive ocean.

Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests, Aziz Akhannouch, who is attending the conference on Wednesday made a presentation on Morocco’s approach to sustainable management of the fisheries sector and its efforts to fight climate change.

“Morocco has put sustainability at the heart of its fisheries sector strategy and has encouraged a paradigm shift from a quantitative to a qualitative production,” said Akhannouch before a panel themed “Facing Challenges: Taking Action on Climate Change”.

He recalled that the country’s fish production reaches 1.4 million tons annually while exports amounted to $2.4 billion in 2018, adding that a total of 200,000 people live directly from fishing, including 50,000 from artisanal fisheries.

Over the last few years, huge resources have been injected in fisheries research, and a series of fisheries management plans were adopted, including the monitoring of fishing vessels by satellite (VMS) and ensuring the traceability of catches, he said, pointing out that thanks to these efforts, 96% of the catches landed in Morocco are managed sustainably according to a set of measures, notably quotas limitation.

Thanks to these management plans, several stocks were replenished in an unprecedented way, in particular seaweed deposits which have an important role in the absorption of CO2 and climate change mitigation, he explained, noting that biomass has increased by more than 30% over five years.

Akhannouch added that Morocco is developing seaweed farming along the coastline with the target to produce 40,000 tons a year. Another seaweed production project is already operational in southern Morocco and ultimately aims to reach an annual production of 150,000 tons of micro-algae for the fish food industry, he said.

Our Ocean 2019 is being held in a historical moment when the level of threat facing the ocean and the need for action are being spotlighted like never before, the event organizers say, citing among other threats climate change, overfishing, marine pollution and plastic litter, and not least, expansion of human activity in the coastal zone. In a time of rapid change, we must find the best way to safeguard the ocean environment while providing for human needs, they say insisting that safeguarding the ocean for future generations is a shared responsibility and a matter of global urgency.

Several side events are taking place in connection with the conference, including the fourth Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit.

The Republic of Palau will host the 2020 edition of the Our Oceans conference.

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