In a significant move towards bolstering cooperation in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, Mauritania and Senegal have solidified their alliance through a partnership that allows Senegalese boats to fish in Mauritania’s maritime waters. Under this cooperative agreement, a maximum of 500 Senegalese boats have been authorized to fish in Mauritania’s waters, targeting a total stock of 50,000 tonnes of pelagic fish, with the exception of yellow mullet and croaker.
In exchange for this fishing access, Senegal has offered to provide Mauritanian continental waters, located in the south of the country, with sufficient quantities of fingerlings for stocking. Furthermore, Senegal has pledged to contribute four fish farming trainers to enhance the technical capacity of Mauritania’s fishing industry.
The memorandum of understanding for this fisheries cooperation agreement was signed by Mauritania’s Minister of Fisheries and the Maritime Economy, Moctar Lam, and his Senegalese counterpart, Papa Mbaye. This agreement marks a significant milestone in the partnership between the two countries, building upon a cooperation agreement in the fisheries and aquaculture sector that was initially signed in 2001.
The fishing sector plays a pivotal role in Senegal’s economy, contributing 3% to its GDP and employing approximately 600,000 people. However, the country faces an annual deficit of around 150,000 tonnes of fish products. On the other hand, Mauritania derives about one-third of its export earnings from fishing, emphasizing the economic importance of this sector for the nation.
Meanwhile, Morocco, another key player in the African fishing industry, has taken steps to enhance its fish market infrastructure. The country has signed a financing agreement of US$4.6 million between the Ministry of Agriculture, the administration of the municipality of Fez, and the administration of the Fez-Meknes region for the construction of a new wholesale fish market in the city of Fez.
Being the second-largest supplier of fish in Africa after Egypt and the leading exporter of fishery products on the continent, Morocco is committed to modernizing its marketing channels for agricultural and fishing products. The National Fisheries Office (ONP) has been assigned the responsibility of executing the project, which forms part of a larger strategy to revamp the marketing channels in the agricultural and fishing sectors.
The new fish market in Fez is expected to ensure a consistent supply of fish and contribute to increased consumption in the Fez-Meknes region. The facility will be equipped with display and selling spaces for fishery products, airlocks for identification and shipping, cold installations, a cold room, socio-collective premises, a weighbridge, administrative and technical facilities, as well as car parks and outdoor spaces.
Despite the significant contributions of the fishing sector to Morocco’s economy, it currently only provides less than 2% of the national economy’s added value. By upgrading its market infrastructure, Morocco aims to optimize fish distribution, enhance quality standards, and boost the industry’s overall performance.
While Mauritania and Senegal strengthen their regional partnership in the fisheries sector and Morocco takes strides to modernize its fish market infrastructure, the future of African fisheries looks promising. These collaborative efforts are expected to not only improve economic prospects but also support sustainable fishing practices, resource management, and overall prosperity in the region.
As the fishing industry continues to evolve and adapt to changing demands and market dynamics, regional cooperation and modernization efforts will be crucial in ensuring a thriving and responsible fishing sector that benefits all stakeholders involved.
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