Morocco: A fishing company tackles the challenges of climate change

31.01.2018 - Article

In Morocco, climate change manifests itself in the form of heatwaves with periods of drought and intense rains with flooding. When fields, companies and streets flood, crops are lost, processing comes to a standstill and agricultural products cannot be transported to market and to consumers.

Moroccan companies that process agricultural products are also impacted, including in the fishery sector. Support from the  Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is however changing the tide.

Fishing is a major economic activity

A crate of fish
A crate of fish© BMZ

Fishing and the processing of fish are significant contributors to the Moroccan economy.  The country has a long coast and abundant fish resources. Up to 70 percent of the fish that are caught in Morocco are processed in-country and exported throughout the world. Fish products make up 50 percent of the country’s food exports and 12 percent of total exports.
For fisheries, climate change presents significant risks, not least of which are changes to the country’s fish stocks. Impacts include, among other things, fish dying, fish migrating to other waters, as well as an increase in jellyfish and algae. In addition, stronger ocean currents can result in deteriorating fishing conditions.
Noureddine Khay, the Managing Director of AVEIRO, a company that processes and exports fish, underscores the risks: “Small and medium-sized businesses are directly impacted by climate change.”

Recognising climate risks and opportunities for Adaptation

Packaging fish for delivery
Packaging fish for delivery© BMZ

VEIRO established operations in 1946 in the industrial zone of Aït Melloul in the region of Souss-Massa-Draa, 20 kilometres from the Atlantic coast. Today, the owner-run company has approximately 1,000 employees. The company is tackling the new challenges, and the BMZ is supporting its efforts. 

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has been commissioned by the BMZ to work with AVEIRO through the Private Sector Adaptation to Climate Change (PSACC) project.

“We have identified climate risks, evaluated and prioritised them, and identified the corresponding adaptation measures,” says Noureddine Khay.

In a first step, the individual climate change impacts on the company were analysed. In addition to the flooding of production and storage facilities, extended periods of heat are leading to problems, including problems with power outages and the overheating of appliances such as freezers. Droughts and a sinking water table are making it difficult for AVEIRO to have access to fresh water, which is urgently needed for processing fish.

AVEIRO has therefore decided to invest in a water purification system. Through a system of water recycling, the company has become self-reliant with respect to fresh water, and saves money on energy and water. In addition, AVEIRO is discussing options for expanding its range of products to include, for example, vegetables. Furthermore, AVEIRO is working together with scientists and policymakers to help find solutions for the protection of coasts, oceans and fish stocks.

c. BMZ

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