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Artisan fleet Merja Zerga (Photo: Friend of the Sea)

Artisanal Fishery Certified Sustainable in Joint Infosamak and Friend of the Sea Project

  (MOROCCO, 11/6/2012)

Morocco cooperative Merja Zerga and its artisanal fleet using nets and lines has successfully undergone Friend of the Sea audit for hake (Merluccius merluccius) and sole (Solea vulgaris vulgaris) thus gaining FOS sustainability certification.

Merja Zerga, accounting 150 boats and 480 fishermen, is a beneficiary cooperative within the FAO-CFC-Infosamak project: “Technical Assistance for the Upgrading of Small-scale fisheries and their integration in International Trade”. In the context of this project Merja Zerga has been the first of a number of artisanal fishermen's cooperatives to undergo Friend of the Sea audit.

 Merja Zerga is an artisan fishery accounting 150 boats and 480 fishermen

The boats have maximum capacity of 1 Metric Ton. The fishing is carried out at 5 to 8 miles from the coast of Moulay Bouselham North. No protected areas are interested by the fishing activity and fishing gears have no impact on the seabed. Discards are less than 2 percent and endangered species are normally not by-caught by the fishery.

A waste management system is in place in order to avoid pollution.

Paolo Bray 
FOS's Director 

“This experience, the very first in Morocco and whole of North Africa, will be a model for a number of other project beneficiary cooperatives in Djibouti, Morocco and Yemen”, explains Mr Abdellatif Belkouch, Managing Director of Infosamak.

“Sustainability certification of small-scale fishery products is an important added value for a better integration of artisanal fisheries in the regional and international fish trade, and we are proud to have achieved such an international acknowledgement,”  added Belkouch.

“Infosamak has selected Friend of the Sea to assess fishermen's cooperatives in the Arab North Africa region" comments Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Sea. "We are proud of having been selected and to provide this service in line with the FAO Guidelines and objectives."

About Friend of the Sea

Friend of the Sea is an international non-profit certification scheme for products from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Certified products are fished from not overexploited nor IUCN Redlisted stocks and with selective methods which do not impact the seabed. Those originate from aquaculture are reared with respect of critical habitat, with no use of antifoulants, GMOS and growth hormones.

About Infosamak

Infosamak is an intergovernmental organization of trade in fishery and aquaculture products and for the encouragement and promotion of investments in the sector.

Infosamak is an independent information centre. It is an integral part of the FISH INFO network set up by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and benefits from the technical support of this organization.

Infosamak is an institution undertaking research, studies and providing advice in the field for companies, public and private sector. It also provides an environment to promote technical and economic cooperation between member States in the region and between these states and the fishery industry worldwide.

Source: Friend of the Sea

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Margaret E.L. Stacey
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