MOROCCO - The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) has welcomed the extraordinary progress of the Moroccan sardine fishery improvement project.
The project has achieved significant increases in scores on the Marine Stewardship Council FIP benchmark tool during its two years of operation and has the highest possible “A” progress rating on the SFP Fishsource database.
”The management framework has greatly improved since the project started, with both stocks subject to a management plan, and while this aspect is still evolving, the most recent stock assessments show that Moroccan-managed stocks are generally in good shape,” said Jo Gascoigne, the FIP’s chief scientist.
Among other improvements, the fishery now includes scientific observers on boats to monitor fishing practices, and efforts to put new harvest control rules in place.
FIP participants are collecting data on the fishery during the process, comparing the results to requirements of the MSC Standard.
According to MSC’s benchmarking tool, an index of “1” indicates that the fishery has the potential to unconditionally pass MSC certification on the 28 performance indicators assessed.
The Moroccan Sardine fishery has improved from an overall index of 0.59 (central zone) / 0.61 (south zone) to 0.74 (both), with a recently published stock assessment included in this score and the fishery’s assessments updated to reflect this better performance. The sustainability evaluations and MSC benchmarking assessments can be found on the FIP’s website.
The FIP was initiated by the ALDI SOUTH Group along with its suppliers Clama, Lovering Foods and Otto Franck. Other stakeholders directly involved with the FIP include European and Moroccan seafood companies, L’Office National des Pêche at the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and the Moroccan National Institute of Fisheries Research. This allows for a holistic approach to improving the fishery, targeting its conservation, economic and social objectives.
Current tasks underway for the FIP include analysis of data from fishermen, such as species interactions and information on discards, to build a fuller picture of the fishery and where further improvements can be made. More workshops with fishermen are to be arranged to discuss progress and activities, and to give and receive feedback on the project. With progress continuing, the fishery is well on track toward the goal to reach the criteria for MSC certification in the next few years.
The next stakeholder meeting for the FIP will be held on 2nd June 2016 in Casablanca.
TheFishSite News Desk