Third national workshop on Marine Protected Areas in Morocco

28 August 2013 | News story

IUCN-Med participated in the third national workshop on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Morocco, which took place in Rabat, on August 23, 2013. This workshop was part of the Small-scale Fisheries project. It marked the end of the activities concerning MPAs, which had led to the creation of 3 MPAs on Moroccan coasts. This last meeting was the opportunity to review the accomplishments and eventual follow-ups to the project.

The Small-scale Fisheries project, coordinated by the Agency of Partnership for Progress and financed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (USA), aims to “break the current cycle of poverty entrapping traditional Moroccan fishermen, and in its place create an industry marked by sustainable growth”. Various initiatives are currently ongoing, such as the modernization of small-scale fishing fleets, the construction of improved landing sites and the reorganization of distribution channels to facilitate product landing and commercialization. The national strategy for the development of MPAs for fisheries management purpose is one of the tools implemented to support the sustainable use of fishing resources. It was developed in cooperation with the Department of Maritime Fisheries of Morocco.

The originality of the Small-scale Fisheries project lies in the fishermen’s involvement. The fishermen are the founders of the three MPAs of the project: the Alboran MPA in the Mediterranean, and the Magador and Massa MPAs in the Atlantic. They are also in charge of deciding which biding regulations will apply within these MPAs, such as the fishing gears that will be prohibited and the marine species for which fishing will be regulated. The Agency of Partnership for Progress and its partners bring their logistic, institutional and financial support.

Over 80 participants representing various stakeholders of fishing in Morocco gathered Friday for the workshop. The speakers reviewed the activities carried out since the beginning of the project, in 2010, and presented the tools set up to ensure the management and sustainability of MPAs for fisheries management purpose in Morocco. This meeting also revealed the satisfaction of fishermen and their wish to create more similar structures along the Moroccan coast. An enthusiasm which may foreshadow a new initiative, and new marine protected areas for fisheries management purpose in Morocco and in the Mediterranean…

For more information : Alain Jeudy