Friend of the Sea announces approval of the Morocco’s purse seine fleet for anchovies and certification of La Monegasque-Vanelli’s branded products.
Morocco traditional coastal purse seiners fishery in the eastern central Atlantic targets European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus). The boats leave port with a crew of 15 to 25 fishers on board late in the afternoon or at night. On the fishing grounds, fish stocks are detected using visual clues (birds, bubbles on the water surface) and echo-sounders. They use a seine net called ‘cerco’ that has a length of 250 to 400 m, a purse depth of 40 to 50 m, and a mesh size of 10 to 12 mm. Trips do not exceed 12 hours. The 323 registered active units unload at various harbors in Morocco: Agadir, Essaouira, Casablanca, Tantan, Sidi Ifni, Medhia.
According to FAO and a recent Working Group, the anchovies stocks are not overexploited in the area. Data from the Government indicate that the Morocco Fishery Department, the total catch of the two targeted stocks represents only 8% of the current biomass of 7.2 million MT. Total Allowable Catches will be enforced at a precautionary 20% level of total estimated biomass. Biomass assessments are run every year and catches are thoroughly monitored. The Morocco fishery management policy halted the construction of new purse seine boats since 1994 and it has not delivered new licenses since 1992.
The onsite audit un by an international certification body has confirmed the available scientific evidence regarding bycatch and discards. The fishery is very selective, since the nets are set around uniform schools o anchovies. There is no bycatch of endangered species and most of the discard is undersized anchovies or sardines, which are used for fishmeal production. Onsite audit has also confirmed compliance with minimum size and net mesh size.
La Monegasque-Vanelli social accountability performance has been proved to be very positive according to the audit results. The group provides work and opportunities for 2000 locals and maintains a local tradition: the artisanal fishing of anchovies. The group is compliant with the local regulation which is in line with International Labour Organization requirements. Boats catch revenue is shared as follows: 60% to the owner of the boat including maintenance of the vessel and costs coverage; 40% is shared between the fishermen.
La Monegasque-Vanelli’s products will soon be out in the shelves in Europe.
“The group La Monegasque-Vanelli operates since 1968” comments the Director General, “We have been requested by our customers to be audited by a third party certification body for sustainability and we have selected Friend of the Sea for its international presence and proved independence. We are proud of having obtained certification. However we have always been aware of the sustainability of our traditional fishery and dedicated to a high environmental performance.”