Fisheries in Morocco and aquacultures in Tunisia are important job creators, and both sectors are playing an increasingly important role in the local economies and export development. But for the thousands of people who depend on these industries for income, reducing the environmental impact while simultaneously unlocking new business opportunities is needed to ensure resilient growth in both sectors.
Results from two mapping studies, analyzing the potential for introducing circular practices along the value chains of Morocco’s fish processing industry and Tunisia’s aquaculture sector were presented at two online events in Tunis (8 October) and in Rabat (11 October). As part of the EU-funded SwitchMed programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has undertaken the two studies to identify opportunities for introducing more efficient practices that can support an economically viable and ecologically stable fish processing and aquaculture industry. For the past six months, the study teams surveyed industrial actors along the Moroccan fish processing value chain and the aquaculture sector in Tunisia.
In Morocco, the study suggests a significant potential to increase the value generated from fish processing by-products, namely fish canning and fish freezing industry, accounting for 94% of the by-products generated by the industry. Better segregation of by-products at source (each type of by-products having specific inner precious value when segregated and preserved) will unlock the potential for the fish meal and fish oil industry to seize niche markets for high protein material, enzyme, hydrolysates, aromatic extracts collagen or Omega 3. Advancing the value chain of fish processing to produce more profitable by-products will contribute to sustaining value within the national fish processing industry and reduce the stress of pelagic stocks by “producing better with less and diversified resources.”
“To preserve the growth base of our blue economy, we need to rely on conscious industries capable of making their transition to more environmentally friendly production processes, production systems that regenerate, do not deplete fish stocks and do not damage aquatic ecosystems,” said Christophe FILORI, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Morocco.
According to the study, Tunisia’s aquacultures have, compared to international standards a high Feed Conversion Rate (FCR). The use of innovative technologies, such as “Optical systems for monitoring and adjusting the feed ration according to environmental conditions and fish behaviour”, “Homogeneous distribution system”, or “Net Cage cleaning systems,” would reduce the FCR and improve excessive feeding, thus improving the productivity of aquafarms while reducing the adverse environmental impact of dispersing exogenic substances leading to eutrophication and modification of the marine ecosystems.
“The result of the value chain analysis will prepare the background for further activities of SwitchMed by identifying potential pilot projects in the aquaculture sector that will demonstrate the uptake of resource efficiency and improve circularity in Tunisia.” said Bassel AL-KHATIB, UNIDO Regional Director and UNIDO representative in Tunisia.
The next phase of the UNIDO SwitchMed Blue Economy projects in Morocco and Tunisia will implement pilot projects to demonstrate the full potential of innovative solutions, such as the introduction of innovative technologies and piloting the valorization of by-products from Morocco’s fish processing sector at an industrial scale.
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