Morocco. The blue economy, a ‘fundamental pillar’ to build the New Development Model of Morocco – The President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (EESC), Ahmed Reda Chami, stressed, on Thursday in Tetouan, that the blue economy is a “fundamental pillar” to build the New Development Model of Morocco.
Speaking at a meeting organised by Abdelmalek Essaâdi University (UAE), in partnership with the EESC, Mr. Chami said that “the blue economy is a real source of wealth creation,” noting that the Council has developed an ambitious vision for the blue economy ecosystem and the development of its promising sectors.
In front of an audience of academics and students, the official presented some data related to the blue economy in Morocco, which has an important fishing heritage with a coastline that extends over 3,500 km and a maritime space of about 1.2 million km2, noting that the Moroccan coastline covers 9 of the 12 regions of the Kingdom.
Mr Chami reviewed the indicators of the fisheries and aquaculture sector, whose overall production is estimated at nearly 1.4 million tons, and which provides nearly 700,000 jobs and contributes to foreign trade with a share of about 45% of agri-food exports, noting that the industry of valorisation of sea products counts nearly 460 units on land and achieves a turnover of about 24 billion dirhams.
He indicated that 50% of the tourist structures are concentrated on the coast, including 6 seaside resorts, in addition to the construction of 9 seawater desalination stations, the number of which should reach 30 by 2030.
Challenges and Opportunities in the Blue Sector: A Vision for Sustainable Marine Activities
The official recalled that the Council has diagnosed and identified a number of constraints facing the blue sector, including imbalances in maritime fishing (decline in marine resources, traditional fishing), obstacles to the development of competitiveness of the aquaculture sector (land, financing, taxation), and the weakness of the shipbuilding and maintenance sector to meet national demand, noting the existence of untapped opportunities, especially in the areas of maritime tourism, water sports, gas exploration and wind energy production.
He also focused on the challenges of climate change and overexploitation of fisheries resources, leading to acidification of the seas and oceans and their warming, as well as plastic and oil pollution and sewage discharges, and the risk of extinction of some fish species due to overfishing and illegal fishing.
The Council’s vision, he said, is based on the promotion of commercial marine activities, such as coastal tourism, fisheries, transport, marine aquaculture, shipbuilding and maintenance, seawater desalination, water biotechnology, renewable energy, and non-commercial marine activities, namely knowledge, education, training, culture, heritage protection, management, safety and security.
And in order to invest in and develop the potential offered by the blue economy, Mr Chami stressed the need to adopt a national strategy for a sustainable and inclusive blue economy, with a territorial dimension, aiming to develop the traditional sectors (fishing, tourism and port activities) and to promote new sectors with high growth potential (aquaculture, ecotourism, marine biotechnology, shipbuilding, renewable energies…).
Recommendations for Promoting the Blue Economy: Focus on Marine Spatial Planning and Innovation
Mr. Chami assured that the Council issued a series of recommendations to promote the sector, including the implementation of marine spatial planning at the territorial level, the strengthening of the dynamics of the development of new sectors of the blue economy, and investment in research and innovation related to the various sectors of the blue economy.
For his part, the president of the UAE, Bouchta El Moumni, stressed that this event is part of a series of meetings organized for the benefit of students, in order to strengthen the openness of the University on its socio-economic environment, noting that Mr. Chami led, on Wednesday in Tangier, a conference under the theme “the entrepreneurial spirit among young people in Morocco”.
This meeting was marked by an open debate between the president of the EESC, professors and students of the University, around the principles of the blue economy, especially since the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region has enormous potential in this field.
Morocco. The blue economy, a ‘fundamental pillar’ to build the New Development Model of Morocco
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