A SIGN OF SUCCESS

Morocco 2020/21 | AGRICULTURE & FISHERIES | INTERVIEW

FENIP works tirelessly to raise awareness of the quality and diversity of local seafood and strengthen Morocco's competitive position in the international fishery market

Hassan Sentissi
BIOGRAPHY

Hassan Sentissi is the chairman of several companies including Radi Kolding, Copelit, Novadeira Maroc, Pescaibu, SMP Tarpon, Pescarif, SAP Nassim, SAP Jawhara, Badr El Bahr, Damsa, and Tissir Port. He is President of FENIP, ASMEX, ANAFAP, and AFIEX, a member of the board of IFFO, and President of the Russian-Morocco Business Council.

How has FENIP evolved since its creation in 1996, and what have been its main areas of intervention?
FENIP is a sectoral professional organization that represents the transformation of the sector and valuation of seafood products in Morocco. Its main goals are to represent and defend the interests of its members; study specific measures to develop industries for the processing of fishery products and improve the conditions of production, distribution and sale of products; and provide its members with any assistance likely to promote and develop their activities. FENIP's efforts aim to increase awareness of the quality and diversity of the Moroccan product and strengthen the country's competitive position in the international market. The seafood processing industries sector comprises seven branches of activity, six of which are represented in professional organizations that are members of FENIP: the semi-canned fish industry represented by AMASCOP; the fish meal and oil industry represented by ANAFAP; on land freezing of seafood represented by ANICOM; the packaging and export of fresh fish represented by APROMER; all the seafood processing industries in Agadir represented by FIPROMER (the regional branch of FENIP); the canned fish industry represented by UNICOP; and the seaweed processing industry (AGAR AGAR), an associate member.

How has the outbreak of COVID-19 affected the fish industry in Morocco?
In the context of the pandemic and similar to other sectors of the national economy, the local fishing industries sector has faced a disruption in international supply and demand. Many seafood processing units found themselves in a situation of virtual inactivity. In addition, the few production units still operational have put in place preventive measures in
order to minimize the risks of contagion. All these measures have had a strong impact on productivity. Thanks to the measures to support the productive sector advocated by His Majesty the King, we are now witnessing a gradual recovery of
the fishing industry sector.

What have been FENIP's main initiatives and areas of work due to COVID-19 to protect the interests of its members?
From the start of the health crisis, FENIP shared with the Economic Watch Committee set up by His Majesty the King recommendations from our members for measures for the sector. A team was also set up to remain attentive to the needs of
professionals. FENIP and its member associations insisted on resuming coastal fishing and ensured compliance with the
necessary health measures. In addition, FENIP closely monitors developments in the seafood sector nationally and internationally in the context of COVID-19 and regularly informs its members. The federation has appointed a representative from among its members in each province where value-added fishery activities are present. These representatives are the single point of contact for local authorities and the team set up to fight the pandemic. Their role is to provide accurate information relating to the measures taken by the establishments, ensure the functioning of their various departments, and facilitate communication with companies.

In 2019, local fish consumption exceeded 12kg per person annually, and there were estimates that by the end of 2020, Morocco could exceed the government target of 16kg. Is this still a doable target?
If the national consumption of fish per capita is still low in Morocco, it is mainly because of the unavailability of an appropriate cold chain to allow the transport and storage of fresh fish in different regions of Morocco. The Halieutis Plan makes it possible in part to remedy this problem through the creation of fish markets in the main cities of the country; however, this is far from sufficient to make fish accessible everywhere in the country. Also, it is important to promote the national consumption of processed seafood products, in particular authentic Moroccan sardines Sardina pilchardus Walbaum. Thanks to its remarkable nutritional properties, Sardina pilchardus is an excellent source of protein and Omega 3 recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease.