Moroccan graduate students successfully complete the III University Master in Marine Aquaculture of the ULPGC

June 2014

The III Marine Aquaculture Master in ULPGC is now coming to an end. The Moroccan graduate students who have taken these studies with the support of AQUATRANS Project have successfully completed the course and are now preparing the presentation of their Master's theses. We wanted to take the opportunity to introduce these bright students and their dissertations:

Samira SARIH comes from Tetouan, where she completed her studies of Biology and Geology in Biosciences, Health and Environment, and the Bachelor of Animal Biology (Faculty of Sciences of Tetouan, University Abdelmalek Essaâdi).

Title of the thesis: Effectiveness of the stimulation of meagre (Argyrosomus regius) spawning by injection with HGC and by GnRHa implant. Effect on production and quality of the spawning.

Director of thesis: Dr. Hipólito Fernández-Palacios Barber.

Najlae EL KERTAOUI, born in Tetouan, completed her higher studies in Rabat where she studied Agricultural Engineering at the Agricultural and Veterinary Institute Hassan II.

Title of the thesis: Determination of nutritional requirements in n-3 HUFA and study of the effects of vitamins E and C in meagre (Argyrosomus regius).

Directors of the thesis: Dr. Carmen Hernandez-Cruz and Dr. Daniel Montero.


Aquatrans Project presented its progress to the Souss Massa Drâa Region

November 2013

On the 20 and 21 November took place in Agadir the presentation of results corresponding to POCTEFEX 2nd call projects, as agreed by the Directorate General of Relations with Africa belonging to the Canary Islands Government and the Regional Council of Souss Massa Drâa.

During Wednesday's the 20th afternoon session the Final Steering Committee of the Aquatrans Project was held. After the presentation of results of Aquatrans Project the Moroccan partners asked about the potential lines of continuity and interest thereof.

The plenary presentation of Canary - South Morocco POCTEFEX projects to the public and private actors in the region of Souss Massa Drâa was developed on Thursday the 21st. The afternoon session included the presentation of the objectives, progress and overall results of the Aquatrans Project.

Aquatrans also participated in POCTEFEXpo, an exhibition area open to the public for dissemination to the regional civil society of the 2nd call POCTEFEX projects intervening in Souss Massa Drâa region. For this purpose a display and a video presented in a clear and concise way the objectives, partners, and project outcomes.


Aquatrans Project contributes to the capacity building of Moroccan researchers through training stays in the Canaries

June 2013

Along June and July, Moroccan researchers belonging to different partner institutions of AquaTrans Project will conduct training stays in aquaculture techniques in the Canary Islands. The training activities will be conducted in premises of the Aquaculture Research Group (GIA) at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and the Canary Institute of Marine Science (ICCM), both in Gran Canaria Island.

These capacity building stays are part of the work programme of AQUATRANS Project, a cross border cooperation initiative financed by ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) resources articulated through POCTEFEX Program (Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Spain-External Borders).


Capacity building of staff from the INRH in meagre culture techniques in the ICCM (Canary Islands)

August  2013

The National Fisheries Research Institute (INRH) of Agadir has selected Mr. Abdelbaset Ben Bani, research staff of that centre, to benefit from a period of capacitation within the facilities of the Research Group on Aquaculture (GIA) in the Canary Institute of Marine Science (ICCM). The main theme of the visit was the formation on production techniques of meagre (Argyrosomus regius).

This species is considered as a potential for aquaculture diversification in several regions where it is present in the natural environment, such as the Mediterranean coast, the Canaries and the Atlantic coast of Morocco. At present, diversification of markets with the introduction of new species can be considered the main strategy for the development of aquaculture. This diversification will increase the efficiency of aquaculture enterprises.

In Morocco, aquaculture is considered an emerging activity, although its development is hampered by several constraints. The Government Plan "Halieutis" tries to overcome these limitations and turn aquaculture into an engine for socio-economic growth, relying among other issues on the promotion of aquaculture research. In terms of R&D, adaptation to captivity of new species and local production of fish food are the priorities for continuous and sustainable development of national aquaculture.

Given these considerations, Aquatrans Project devoted Activity 4 to different aspects of the culture of this species, identifying several key topics to be developed and transferred through the experience of the partners from the Canary Islands in the field of aquaculture.

The main aspects of this training period, developed between the 17th June and the 5th July, were focused on the production of meagre in the early stages of reproduction and larval rearing. The main activities through which the capacitation was conducted were:

- Stimulation of meagre spawning using different hormones and two techniques (injection and implants).

The purpose of the activity was the use of different types of commercial hormones through two methods, in order to induce spawning and determine the effect on the quantity and quality of the eggs and larvae.

Handling of anesthetized specimens and injection operation.

- Production of larval food (microdiets).

La participación en esta experiencia ha permitido el Sr. Ben-Bani conocer todas las etapas de la fabricación de alimentos larvarios, desde la formulación hasta la obtención del producto final. La experiencia del equipo del Grupo de Investigación de Acuicultura, que se encuentra entre los líderes mundiales en investigación sobre nutrición de peces, fue muy provechosa para el desarrollo de esta actividad de formación.


Different stages of the preparation of microdiets.

- Participation in all phases of experimentation in larval nutrition.

This activity included all the different phases of the process, from the preparation of larval rearing systems, counting and transferring larvae to tanks, feeding with previously formulated microdiets and preparation of samples aimed at genetic, microscopic and histological analyses in the laboratories of the University Institute for Animal Health and Food Safety (IUSA) of the ULPGC.

Counting of larvae and transfer to tanks and preparation of larvae samples.

Although the training was mainly focused on issues related to fish culture, also some aspects of shellfish and seaweed farming were addressed. To optimize his stay Mr. Ben-Bani was able to participate in works related to breeding of Canary abalone (Haliotis tuberculata coccinea) and production of the macro-algae used to feed this species.


In the words of Mr. Ben Bani, "The training received has been very successful thanks to the different actions undertaken and the close interaction with researchers and technicians from the Aquaculture Research Group".

The partners have expressed their willingness to continue the development of actions such as those of Aquatrans Project in order to meet the objectives of sustainable development of aquaculture in the Canary Islands and in Souss Massa Draa.



Aquaculture as a means of cross-border cooperation

Dr. Marisol Izquierdo. GIA / ULPGC.

 Morocco and Spain occupy a strategic position to lead the development of economic relations between the EU and Africa, although there is a need to work on specific issues in order to strengthen institutional relations and promote the investment that will boost economic activity in the border area. The Governments of the Canary Islands and Morocco began a few years ago the first contacts between the institutions responsible for research, education and training in aquaculture. As a result of these early collaborations today there is a better mutual understanding of the potential of aquaculture in the border area and also the current problems that need attention.

The regions of Souss Massa Draa (Morocco) and the Canary Islands (Spain) present the right conditions for cooperation in aquaculture, an activity that may constitute a complementary economic activity to tourism development and agro-fisheries in both regions:

• The Canaries have an ingrained aquaculture sector that seeks expansion in Morocco, and is at the same time emerging as an important region in Aquaculture science, technology and product quality, in the European area.

• The Atlantic coast of Morocco, and in particular the Souss Massa Draa, presents very interesting conditions for the development of aquaculture, with significant production areas for algae and molluscs growth, and tempered coasts with constant photoperiods, which have a very high potential for the production of certain fish species.

The development of aquaculture is one of the priority objectives of the Development Plan of Fishery Resources in Morocco and Specific Development Plans for the Region of Sous Massa Draa.

However, the development of aquaculture in the region of Souss Massa Draa is limited by a number of constraints including lack of specialists at all levels of training, from simple operators or technicians to production managers and scientists to develop new technologies; the lack of management plans for aquaculture development and the lack of advice and support to internal or external business sector. Besides the lack of resources in terms of research and training today the institutional cooperation in education, research and technological development in aquaculture among different Moroccan institutions or in the border are virtually nonexistent.

AQUATRANS Project is proposed to help solve these issues. Its main objective is to promote collaboration between the institutions involved Aquaculture in both regions to enhance the training of specialists, institutional cooperation in research and technological development, and the organization of demonstration experiences in order to promote the socioeconomic development of aquaculture. Funding for this project will consolidate the initial collaboration and achieve more ambitious goals of education and socioeconomic development.