Morocco’s fish and maritime products’ exports totaled 570,000 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, reaching a value of MAD 15.3 billion ($1.66 billion).
The recorded volume represents a 7% increase compared to the same period in 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries announced on November 2.
“Despite the difficult conditions this year, characterized by significant disturbance due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the exports of maritime products recorded a 7% increase,” said the ministry’s fisheries department in a press release.
Morocco’s main fish export remains canned sardines. As of September, Morocco exported 116,850 tonnes of canned sardines for a total revenue of MAD 3.6 billion ($389.44 million). The figures represent a 6% annual increase in volume and a 5% increase in value. The growth in canned sardines exports is mainly due to increased exportation to Mauritania, the US, and Ghana, the agriculture ministry announced.
Morocco’s exports of frozen mollusks, including octopus, also recorded a significant annual increase of 28%. In the first nine months of 2020, these exports reached a total volume of 83,075 tonnes and a value of MAD 5.1 billion ($551.71 million).
Finally, fish oil exports witnessed the highest annual increase in volume, at 40%. As of September, Morocco exported 32,7400 tonnes of fish oil for a revenue of MAD 553.3 million ($59.86 million). Fish oil exports mainly increased towards France, the Netherlands, and China.
Decreased overall production
Contrary to what the increased exports may suggest, Morocco’s overall fish production has slightly decreased this year. As of September, Morocco produced 987,000 tonnes of fish—3% less than the same period in 2019. The production’s value stood at MAD 9.6 billion ($1.04 billion)—4% lower than in 2019.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the slight decrease in production is due to the temporary pandemic-induced suspension of fishing activities in some Moroccan ports.
As for the decrease in value, it is partly due to the fall in fish prices because of lower demand, both domestically and internationally, during the COVID-19 crisis. Hotels and restaurants, for instance, were no longer able to make orders because of their closure, the ministry explained.
In domestic wholesale markets, however, the volume of fish and maritime products sold increased by 16% in the first nine months of 2020 and reached 130,661 tonnes. The products’ overall value also recorded a 19% increase and stood at MAD 533.8 million ($57.75 million).