During their time in Morocco, the fisheries delegation visited several R&D facilities, processing facilities, and export hubs in major Moroccan cities including Tangier, Casablanca, Agadir, and Dakhla.
At a debriefing held on Tuesday November 12, 2019 at the Embassies of Eastern Caribbean States based in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, members of the Caribbean delegation commented on the value and expertise gained from their newfound familiarisation with the Moroccan experience in fisheries management and business development.
Some of the observations focused on the important topic of regulatory enforcement, noting that Morocco’s approach to regulations is different than that of many Caribbean nations:
“Morocco puts their fishery management policies into law, this is something we [in the Caribbean] don’t do. Most of our regulations are only policies, but not law. This is an approach we should consider pursuing,” one member of the delegation commented.
Another member of the delegation noted
“In Morocco, people derive value from every single part of the fish. For example, we saw how the Moroccans sell the scales of the fish to cosmetic manufacturers who use them as ingredients in various beauty products, thereby increasing the value to fishers. We need to consider this.”
Encouraging the delegation to leverage this valuable capacity-building experience to the benefit of their respective fisheries in their home countries, His Excellency Ian M. Queeley, Ambassador-Designate to the Kingdom of Morocco remarked:
“This visit is not only important, but indeed very timely given the current challenges faced within the region akin to our fishing industry. I will therefore implore you to use the knowledge gained to ensure the sustainability of this vital industry and to be resilient."
"I also encourage continuous networking with your colleagues in a bid to be aware of best practices and new and emerging trends within the industry. Further, you should also endeavor to implement the necessary regulatory frameworks and make significant investments in research and development. This, in my view, is what is required if we are to remain relevant.”
In the spirit of South-South cooperation, the Kingdom of Morocco with the assistance of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), will host several more technical missions both in Morocco and in the individual Member States of the OECS. Other ongoing areas of cooperation between Eastern Caribbean islands and Morocco include academic scholarship programmes, soil-fertility mapping projects, and various cross-industry technical missions.
The Embassies of Eastern Caribbean States to the Kingdom of Morocco, on behalf of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, wishes to place on record its gratitude to His Majesty King Mohammed VI and the Agence Marocaine De Coopération Internationale (AMCI) for the successful hosting of this recently concluded technical cooperation mission.
About the Moroccan Fishing Industry:
Morocco is the world’s 18th largest and Africa’s top seafood exporter with 524,959 tonnes exported in 2016, worth a total of USD 1.8 billion. Morocco’s exports are comprised mainly of frozen and canned products which account for some 78% of export value (Office des Changes, 2016). In 2015, the processing sector consisted of some 409 registered companies, 45% of which were in the freezing sub-sector, 12% were fresh producers and 11% were identified as canneries. In 2015, the European Union (EU) absorbed 41% of Morocco’s exports in volume terms and 61% by value (Office des Changes, 2016). Close to half of the EU’s imports from Morocco are destined for the Spanish market.
About the Embassies of Eastern Caribbean States to the Kingdom of Morocco:
The Embassies of Eastern Caribbean States to the Kingdom of Morocco (ECS Embassies) is a joint diplomatic mission comprised of embassies of individual members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. The Embassies operate via the modality of joint representation involving joint premises and staff, including a common/joint/shared Ambassador/Head of Mission. The primary objectives of the Joint Embassies are to promote friendship and cooperation and to advance the community and individual interests of member states in the Kingdom of Morocco.