Moroccan seafood exports hit new record of US$2.5B in 2021

MOROCCO – In 2021, Moroccan seafood exports reached 778 thousand tonnes, valued at MAD 24.2 billion (US$2.5 billion).

The Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development, Waters, and Forests reported the new record.

With a 15% increase in exports value, Morocco achieved a new record that resulted from a turnover growth of 53% for frozen cephalopods, 66% for frozen octopus, and 50% for frozen squid.

Frozen cephalopods contributed to 40% of total seafood export revenues in 2021 when the prices of frozen octopus and frozen squid increased by 51% and 31%.

As seafood exports turnover grew in the past year, the total exports volumes slightly dropped by 4% in the same period.

In 2021, shipped quantities of frozen octopus and frozen squid increased by 9% and 15% but other seafood volumes dropped, including fishmeal (-25%), canned sardines (-18%), and frozen sardines (-14%), the ministry noted.

Notably, Morocco’s main fish export remains canned sardines which represented 53% of total seafood exports in 2021.

The maritime fishing sector has thus shown resilience and agility thanks to the continuous coordination and mobilization of all stakeholders,” commented the ministry.

The ministry also underlined that the new record is the fruit of Morocco’s Halieutis strategy.

Launched in September 2009, the plan intended to build a sustainable, well-equipped, efficient, and competitive Moroccan fisheries sector by 2020.

Halieutis strategy also set an ambitious goal of US$3.1 billion seafood export value.

At the One Ocean Summit held earlier this month, Morocco’s Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch reiterated the country’s commitment to preserve maritime resources and counter illegal fishing.

He highlighted Morocco’s efforts to protect and restore maritime ecosystems and promote sustainable fisheries.

Aziz also noted that the Moroccan government closely controls and manages fishing activities across the country.

As Morocco promotes sustainable fishing, the North African country is a main exporter of fish to the European Union with an annual export average of 42,000 tonnes of white fish to European markets.

Spain receives 73% of Moroccan exports, according to the Community of Mediterranean SMEs website.

Additionally, 138 European vessels can fish in Morocco’s exclusive economic zone based on the EU-Morocco sustainable fisheries partnership.

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