Strengthening Sustainable Management of Marine Resources in Morocco

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Al Hoceima National Marine Park is rich in Mediterranean biodiversity. However, artisanal fishersmen live in a precarious socio-economic situation (such as poverty and unemployment). The artisanal fishing sector is indeed weakened by the lack of infrastructure and unsustainable human practices (such as use of driftnets, dynamite fishing, poaching, and disturbance to ospreys). In addition to this, the fishing sector is vulnerable to climate change. The combination of these factors impacts the stock of fishery resources and affects negatively the fishers’ livelihoods. In this context, the applied solution consists of the integration of international environmental standards in fishing in accordance with the Mediterranean policies and the prohibition of use of driftnets (major cause of the decline in fish stocks) which are replaced by sustainable fishing gears (traps in Alfa and selective long-lines). The solution also supports the creation of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for sustainable fisheries, and mobilized fishers around the eradication of the illegal fishing. A revolving fund for the acquisition of sustainable fishing material is also part of the solution. This fund supports the maintenance of the fishing activities while making them more sustainable, thus avoiding a serious economic and social crisis. As a result, 3,000 artisanal fishers benefited from an ecosystem-based participatory planning program to help them identify the main challenges threatening the sustainability of the fishery sector and innovative responses to tackle theses challenges. The fishers now play a key role as a part of a Monitoring and Surveillance Committee which is in charge of the fight against illegal fishing in the Marine Park of Al Hoceima.

Build resilience of vulnerable to climate disasters , Ensure education, skills to promote sustainable development , Prevent, reduce marine pollution, including debris, nutrients , Sustainably manage, protect, restore marine, coastal ecosystems , Address impacts of ocean acidification , Regulate harvesting, overfishing, illegal fishing , Conserve at least 10% coastal, marine areas , Prohibit and avoid harmful, perverse fisheries subsidies , Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity , Provide resource, market access for small-scale fishers , Implement international law as reflected in UNCLOS , Enhance global sustainable development partnerships

Located near the Mediterranean Sea, Al Hoceima National Marine Park is the ultimate refuge for the Mediterranean biodiversity. It is home to several rare and endangered species listed on the IUCN Red List, such as monk seal, Osprey, Audouin's gull and giant limpet. However, this rich habitat is exposed to illegal fishing activities which are carried out within the marine’s protected area (MPAs) of Al Hoceima National Park. These activities include trawling at shallow depths below 80 m as well as use of dynamites and copper sulfate fishing.  In addition to this, there are other illegal activities such as chick and egg poaching and disturbance to osprey nests. Not only do these problems lead to the destruction of the marine habitat, but they are also responsible for the disappearance of some key species in the park (monk seal).

The sustainable management of marine resources project is implemented closely with the fishers’ community (men & women) through an inclusive and participatory approach. The community is widely involved in the integrated management of fishery resources by adopting sustainable fishing methods and respecting the marine protected areas. The community of fishers works closely with local authorities to alert them about illegal fishing practices. 
The project also helps prohibit the use of driftnets, and raises awareness among the fishers’ communities to alert local decision makers and external services on the problems of illegal fishing. It supports the creation of a Monitoring and Surveillance Committee, aimed to stimulate the fight against illegal fishing in the Marine Park. The project has also supported the implementation of a marketing strategy for the artisanal fish products. 

In addition, it has positively increased the resilience of the fishery artisanal sector, and contributed to a significant improvement of the community incomes. The fishers’ community (men and women) is now better prepared to face the economic and environmental challenges through: 
1 An introduction of new sustainable fishing techniques: conversion of illegal fishing gear, surveillance and prohibition of illegal fishing with dynamite, guidance for the fishers on fishing new species with high added value.
2. Strengthening capacity of more than 3000 artisanal fishers, including women and their involvement in the management of marine resources and zoning prohibited fishing.
3. Creation of a sustainable financial mechanism that supported the improvement of livelihoods of fishers and the sector's resilience. 

The project has strongly supported the restoration of the Marine Ecosystem of Al Hoceima National Park through eradication of illegal fishery, specially trawling at shallow depths below 80 m as well as the use of dynamites and copper sulfate fishing. The following activities contributed to the ecosystem restoration: creation of a participatory Monitoring and Surveillance Committee; utilization of the geo-localization device; introduction of sustainable fishery technology; and monitoring program design of endangered flagship species.


FEM / SGP , MAVA Foundation , CEPF Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund

AGIR, Association de Gestion Intégrée des Ressources

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