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A busy agenda for Aziz Akhannouch in Agadir

The Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests, Aziz Akhannouch, met this Tuesday in Agadir, with Ilya Shestakov, Russian Deputy Minister of Agriculture and President of the Russian Federal Agency of Fisheries, with a view to strengthening the Morocco-Russia partnership in the field of marine fisheries.

This interview took place aboard the Russian ship Alexandr Kosarev, anchoring at the port of Agadir and which Akhannouch visited on the sidelines of the High Level Conference on the Blue Belt Initiative, held Tuesday in the capital of Souss.

This visit was an opportunity to discuss the renewal of the cooperation agreement on Morocco-Russia marine fisheries which will end on March 14, 2020. The two officials mentioned the technical aspect of this agreement as well as the scientific cooperation between the two countries.

The agreement provides for the granting by the Russian side of 14 scholarships for Moroccan students who are laureates of maritime training establishments. This year also saw the boarding of 327 Moroccan sailors aboard the Russian fleet fishing in Moroccan waters.

During this meeting, Akhannouch recalled the excellent relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and Russia, a rich and solid partnership that will be consolidated through more economic exchanges, scientific research and training.

During the visit of the vessel Alexandr Kosarev, operating under the Agreement with Russia and which is at the port of Agadir for the purpose of unloading fishery products made during its last tide, the two parties signed Minutes of the 4th session of the Morocco-Russia Joint Committee on the Cooperation Agreement on Maritime Fisheries.

This commission was held Monday, February 18 in Agadir under the chairmanship of Mrs. Zakia Driouch, Secretary General at the Department of Marine Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests.

The 4-year cooperation agreement on maritime fisheries allows a fleet of 10 Russian vessels to operate in Moroccan waters in the South Atlantic up to Cape Blanc. This agreement also allows the employment of more than 300 Moroccan sailors.

Aziz Akhannouch also spoke with Roy Angelvik, Secretary of State to the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, the country in honor of the Halieutis Salon which opens on February 21 current.

This meeting, held in the margins of the High Level Conference on the Blue Belt Initiative, was an opportunity to discuss Norway’s experience in the fisheries sector and the conditions for development of the Blue Belt Initiative, a framework for future cooperation between the two parties in the field of fisheries research, particularly with regard to methods for acoustic assessment of pelagic, mesopelagic and planktonic stocks, training and innovative techniques for the processing and recovery of fishery products.

On this occasion, Akhannouch recalled Morocco’s position as the leading producer of fish in Africa and the Kingdom’s potential in terms of valuation, highlighting the interest generated by the Norwegian experience.

The two leaders also discussed the issue of the sustainability of fisheries resources and called for a joint effort to focus attention on this critical issue.

The fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing played a central role in trade, and the Norwegian official stressed the need for global cooperation in the fight against illegal fishing.

Akhannouch recalled Morocco’s ongoing efforts in this area, including the adoption of the law on the prevention and fight against IUU fishing and the establishment of a national traceability system of fishery products, to ensure the monitoring and traceability of the product along the entire value chain of the fisheries sector.

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