Aquaculture: FAO launches two demonstration stations in Sidi Ifni

To support the aquaculture profession development project, the result of a partnership between the Department of Maritime Fisheries, ANDA, FAO, and the Norwegian and Dutch embassies in Morocco, the United Nations Food and Agriculture United Nations (FAO) launches the design project, monitoring the installation and support and operation of a fish demonstration station and a mussel demonstration station off the coast of Sidi Ifni. In detail, this project is intended to establish the foundations of a capacity building program in aquaculture, through on the one hand the creation of two educational fish and mussel farms, and on the other hand, the development of training programs in aquaculture professions for the benefit of trainers, operators of the aquaculture sector and future students / apprentices. To do so, FAO recently launched a call for applications for the installation and support for the operation of fish and mussel demonstration stations and a mussel demonstration station in Sidi Ifni. The two mussel and fish farms will be set up at the level of aquaculture plots belonging to a private operator as part of a partnership with ANDA. They will be made up of two pilots; a fish farm with floating cages and ancillary fish farming equipment, for a minimum annual production of 180 tonnes, and a mussel farm with channels for a production of around 50 tonnes of shellfish with a channel for collecting mussel spat. The document published by the FAO underlines that “ANDA has drawn up six aquaculture development plans covering almost the entire Moroccan coast, where significant production potential has been identified, particularly in fish farming and shellfish farming”. The same source adds that “so far, 260 projects have been selected for a target production of around 157,000 tonnes. The marine aquaculture sector is dominated by shellfish farming, in particular oyster farming based mainly in Dakhla and Oualidia in the Atlantic. There is only one offshore fish farming company located in the Mediterranean, specializing in the production of sea bass. But there is no experience of offshore fish farming in the Moroccan Atlantic ”. And to continue that “marine companies only practice fattening from fry bought abroad. There is no fish hatchery. As a general rule, all aquaculture production is sold on the domestic market, at regional and local levels, in particular large cities. Morocco exports very few aquaculture products to other third countries ”. According to an ANDA survey of the aquaculture products market, around 60% of consumers expect the prices of aquaculture products to be more accessible than those of captured products. Local aquaculture companies import fry and bivalve spat (except mussels). For the FAO, in order to support the development of the sector and the implementation of the identified projects, no less than 700 technicians, 1600 workers, 600 divers should be trained, not to mention technical managers and researchers. Currently, Morocco does not offer vocational training courses preparing for aquaculture professions. Only university-level training for research purposes currently exists. The profiles sought are primarily those of technician level and skilled worker or specialized in aquaculture.