In Morocco, Octopus Fishing Postponed – Morocco has decided to postpone the start of the octopus fishing season until January of the coming year. This decision follows a study that highlighted a concerning state of cephalopod resources.
The Moroccan Octopus Monitoring Committee met on December 4, focusing on octopus and other cephalopod populations in Moroccan waters. During the meeting, the results of the previous fishing season were presented, indicating an overall quota attainment rate of 78%. However, concerns were raised by Moroccan deep-sea fishing vessel owners regarding other cephalopod species, notably a significant 57% reduction in cuttlefish populations.
A recent study revealed an increase in octopus specimens but a lower number of squid. Nevertheless, the rate of young cephalopods remains high, at 57% in Zone A and a noteworthy 80% in Zone B, with a significant percentage of T9-sized specimens.
The Octopus Fishing Committee (INRH) recommended postponing fishing activities, initially scheduled for the end of this month, until January 1, 2024. This decision aims to allow cephalopod populations to recover sustainably. During discussions, vessel owners emphasized the importance of strengthening control measures, especially monitoring stocks in refrigerated warehouses.
Mohamed Benbari, Director of Maritime Fishing Control at the Moroccan Ministry of Fisheries, stated that approximately 70% of stored cephalopods are concentrated in Agadir and 12% in Dakhla. To ensure transparency and accountability, a monitoring operation will be promptly initiated to assess the current situation.
Some meeting participants suggested introducing quotas in response to the decline in cuttlefish populations, but vessel owners vehemently rejected this proposal, citing concerns about potential economic and social imbalances in the fishing sector. They emphasized that the Moroccan industry suspends all fishing activities during biological rest periods, highlighting their commitment to the sustainable exploitation of marine resources.
The meeting concluded with consensus on considering INRH recommendations and postponing the resumption of octopus and cephalopod fishing until January 1, 2024.
In Morocco, Octopus Fishing Postponed