Fisheries

Case Study
Morocco: Capacity Development of Fisheries Resource Monitoring for Sustainable Management of Small Pelagic Resources

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A marine survey ship conducting an acoustic survey

Proper Monitoring and Assessment of Fisheries Resources with Practical Application of Japan's Technologies

Sustainable utilization of fisheries resources is one of the SDGs. JICA is proactively engaged in improvement of monitoring and assessment of fisheries resources, which is a key effort toward achieving this goal.

Providing a Good Scientific Information

Base for Pelagic Resource Management The coastal waters of Morocco are rich in small pelagic fish species such as sardines and horse mackerel. A large number of smallscale fishers and processors in the country are heavily dependent on these resources. However, the biomass of small pelagic resources is known to fluctuate naturally to a significant degree, which often causes negative impacts on economically vulnerable small-scale fishers and processors. In order to secure stable income and employment for these populations, it is essential to improve the monitoring of pelagic fish resources, which enables better forecast of future fluctuations.

Advanced technologies are required to deal with small pelagic fish species since they are highly mobile migratory species. In this regard, Japan has provided research vessels equipped with sophisticated acoustic survey devices and dispatched Japanese experts so as to support national efforts to strengthen the institutional capacity of resource monitoring. Acoustic survey is a method of estimating the types and quantity of fish in a school by using a special fish detector and analyzing the echo data from the school. It is extremely important to identify echo data differentiated by individual fish. In this regard, some research findings of the project, such as target strength values newly established for major pelagic species, are of great value. Thanks to committed efforts from the Moroccan side together with adequate technical assistance from the Japanese side, Morocco has successfully applied an advanced resource monitoring and assessment method called Virtual Population Analysis.

In the process, a number of Moroccan researchers with various technical expertise, including oceanography, biology, acoustic survey, socioeconomic studies, and resource assessment, took part in the project activities and made remarkable progress in their own research areas, which were then combined for the comprehensive analysis.

Overall, the project has accumulated various research findings and contributed significantly to the improved accuracy of pelagic resource monitoring and evaluation. It is believed that the continued efforts of the Moroccan counterparts in the project will provide a good scientific information base for the sustainable utilization of fisheries resources in Morocco.

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