Moroccan King Mohammed VI held an opening ceremony earlier this year at the Azura Aquaculture Farm hatchery, a shellfish facility tasked with boosting his country's fisheries sector.
The North African state invested 81 million-dirham (USD $22 million) into the shellfish aquaculture project which is part of the Halieutis national strategy of upgrading key phases in the Moroccan fisheries value chain.
The hatchery and farm is part of the larger program which will contribute to improving the sustainability of resources in that region of the country and promote shellfish farming, processing and marketing of nearly 970 tons of oysters, clams and abalone, and to decrease animal health risks related to the import of these species, according to government sources quoted in an online article on middle-east-online.com.
The two hectare facility includes a farm and hatchery with technology for water filtration, phytoplankton production, spawning, a laboratory, a micro-nursery and a nursery for rearing the shellfish to seed size for farming.
This project is part of the aquaculture development plan in the Dakhla-Oued Ed-dahab region (2015-2020), one of the flagship projects of the new development model of the southern provinces, launched by the Sovereign on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Green March.
Expected to generate some 3,350 direct jobs, these projects supervised by the National Agency for Aquaculture Development (French acronym ANDA) will be carried out over an area of 6,556 hectares and will eventually reach a total annual production of 115,450 tons.
The Moroccan government has not said if any of the aquaculture projects will include finfish, though there already exists a small Mediterranean Sea bass aquaculture sector in the country.
— Erich Luening