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.