Fish production: between Algeria and Morocco a whole ocean

Fish and fishery products are considered not only some of the healthiest foods on the planet but also those with the lowest impact on the natural environment. », Indicated the Director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) last June.

As a result, he called for giving them a more central role when it comes to developing strategies for nutrition and food security. For Morocco, which ranks in the top 25 of fishery production (1er African country) and while the annual global fish consumption stands at 20.5 kilograms per person, a record level that is expected to increase in the next 10 years, the country remained limited a decade ago to lower levels the world average (13.3 kg / inhabitant against 19.3 kg / inhabitant on a world scale in 2012). But since then, the Moroccan has made it his duty to correct and local consumption reached more in 2018 with a little over 16Kg / inhabitant / year.

This lack of enthusiasm could be explained by the eating habits of the Moroccan who prefers red and white meats, to fish. In Algeria, by way of comparison, the fishing sector is qualified as a secondary product. The levels of fish consumption in Algeria are very low and very far from the world average of 20 kg per year and per person (between 2 and 5 kg). In Morocco, Moroccan sea fishing with its annual production of more than one million tonnes, places the Kingdom in the first rank of African producers and in 25th place in the world. Five years ago, landings of coastal and artisanal fishing products amounted to more than 3.41 billion dirhams (billion dirhams) in the first half of 2016, or 660,704 tonnes, and thus recorded an increase of 21% in terms of by weight and 5% in value compared to the same period of the year 2015, according to the National Fisheries Office (ONP)

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93% of national production is provided by 1,800 coastal fishing boats and 16,000 artisanal boats, 5% by the offshore fleet made up of 356 vessels and 2% by other activities (seaweed, aquaculture, coral, etc. .). The sector represents between 3% and 4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generates around 200,000 direct jobs and more than 500,000 other indirect jobs, while ensuring sources of income for more than 3 million people.

The level of fishing production in Algeria ranks the country among the most productive countries in the Mediterranean region. Indeed, according to a report by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), Algeria is among the top six Mediterranean countries to dominate the sector with Turkey, Tunisia, Italy, Greece and Egypt. Four countries, Turkey, Tunisia, Greece and Italy, account for around 60% of the total fishing fleet ”, according to the report entitled“ State of fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea for the year 2020 “. The same report points out that “ Turkey is the main producer with 274,000 tonnes, or 23.3% of the total, followed by Italy with 178,700 tonnes (15.2%), and Algeria with 103,000 tonnes (8.8%) “. In terms of jobs, capture fisheries “support 785,000 jobs in the said area. Turkey, along with Tunisia, Algeria, Greece, Egypt and Italy account for 82% of jobs on board fishing vessels.

The demand for fishery products from our close neighbors to the east amounts to 200,000 tonnes, a huge gap with the supply (double) in Algeria. The country which achieves one of the three best catches in the Mediterranean cannot offer more than 100,000 tonnes of fish. Already in 1990, with less than half of the current fleet (2021) which moreover is more modern, Algeria made this same capture. A number of dysfunctions are pointed out in the chain from production to the consumer’s plate, when there is a consumer. We understand suddenly why, fish is so expensive and therefore inaccessible for Algerians. It has become a luxury commodity that the majority of consumers can no longer afford. So much so that the popular and cheapest fish, sardines and other pelagic fish very popular with Algerians are around 3 euros (between 400 and 500 DA) per kilo. As for other varieties of fish, move around, there is nothing to see! they are reserved for a certain stock which still claims to be part of the people but which is far from sharing its miseries.

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In Morocco, landings of pelagic fish had reached more than 1.43 billion dirhams in 2016, against more than 1.26 billion dirhams a year earlier, an increase of 14% in value and 24% in weight, specified the ONP in its statistics on coastal and artisanal fishing in Morocco.

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