Reconstruction of marine fisheries catches for Morocoo and an overview of fish removals from Morocco by Distant-Water Fleets

Reconstruction of marine fisheries catches for Morocoo (north, central and south), 1950-2010

Fisheries catches in the Moroccan Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including the Atlantic and Mediterranean areas, were reconstructed to include commercial small-scale, commercial large-scale, illegal and unregulated fisheries, non-commercial recreational and subsistence fisheries, and foreign catches in both EEZ areas. Estimated domestic catches suggest that Moroccan data supplied to FAO are less reliable than they should be, with over 41.5% of catches being unreported. This study also shows that 25.4 million tonnes of catches were taken from the southern EEZ area, which contributed to 52% of the Moroccan catch estimated at 48.4 million tonnes. This illustrates not only that Morocco needs to improve its fisheries monitoring system to include small-scale fishing and unregulated fishing, but also questions the impacts of the fishing access agreements signed by Morocco on the local economy and fisheries sustainability, particularly in the southern area where most foreign catches are taken.

An overview of fish removals from Morocco by Distant-Water Fleets

Morocco has productive fishing grounds. As such, especially the Atlantic areas of Morocco are targeted by distantwater fleets from more than 19 countries, which together caught approximately 90.8 million tonnes between 1950 and 2010. These foreign countries reported 64 million tonnes to FAO during the same time period for the entire Eastern Central Atlantic area (FAO area 34), which suggests massive underreporting. Asian fleets were found to have the highest level of underreporting, followed by Western Europe, with 300% and 80% higher catches than reported landings, respectively. Foreign catches increased dramatically after Morocco extended its jurisdiction over the southern areas in the mid-1970s, after which foreign catches decreased despite increasing fishing effort, suggesting over-exploitation.

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