SwitchMed and the Blue Economy

Launched by the European Union (EU), the SwitchMed Programme has since 2014, under the lead of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), demonstrated the potential for a green and circular economy in Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia.

Under the second phase of SwitchMed (2019-2023), a component focusing on the Blue Economy concept aims to demonstrate business models that aspire to manage a sustainable transformation of associated maritime economic activities that can reduce their negative impact on marine and coastal ecosystems.

Upgrading the efficiency and the circularity in the fisheries value chains of Morocco

In 2021, UNIDO commissioned under the SwitchMed Programme a mapping of the fish processing value chain in Morocco, covering different sub-sectors, such as small pelagic canning and freezing, cephalopods, shrimps peeling, and processing of fishmeal/fish oil. Among several circular opportunities identified, one of the main findings was that the fish canning and freezing sectors generate around 94% of the 280,000 tons of coproducts, and there is significant potential in better utilizing fish coproducts into more diversified products with a higher added value. Furthermore, better energy and water consumption standards could increase profitability with new business opportunities for Morocco’s fish processing industry. 

Together with industry stakeholders, UNIDO provides technical support to address inefficiencies in resource consumption and demonstrate the best available technologies and practices to showcase the potential for a business model that can turn challenges into opportunities while managing marine resources in an eco-efficient way.

A team of experts, led by Procidys, is undertaking a set of activities for the Moroccan fish processing industry. The programme introduces eco-innovative technologies, promotes more sustainable and profitable production practices and conduct experiments in real-production condition in a demo-site with refining fish coproducts into high-value end products. In addition, a training and awareness-raising programme is proposed to professionals to facilitate knowledge-sharing, trigger business opportunities and emulate a community of actors to operates a switch towards more circular practises in the moroccan fish processing value chain.

Project details

Improving valorization of fish co-products
Based on the recommendations from the baseline analysis, pilot initiatives will be undertaken to demonstrate the business case for valorizing fish co-products into end products with higher added value, focusing on improving the sorting and handling procedures of fish co-products, their preservation, and identifying improvement options for cold chain logistics.

Promoting resource-efficient production standards
The pilot initiative will also demonstrate the cost-saving potential of resource efficiency measures. An in-plant audit of the production lines will identify priority flows (material, water, energy) to reveal the sources of inefficiencies and propose a set of options that can improve efficiency performance, reduce cost and thus leverage the competitiveness of the production lines..

Awareness raising and training on sustainable business models
Together with national stakeholders, UNIDO will undertake a training and awareness raising programme with professionals from the fish processing value chain in Morocco. The programme will introduce eco-innovative technologies and processes to promote the adoption of more sustainable and profitable production practices, that eventually also can further the sector in refining the valorization of fish co-products into high-value end products.

The data, information and experience gathered from the demonstration pilots will together with stakeholder consultations, flow into the development of a Blue Economy Roadmap for Morocco’s fish processing industry. This roadmap will provide strategic orientation and propose a set of recommendations and incentives to support a nationwide adoption of circular economy principles in the fish processing industry, in line with the national Halieutis 2030 strategy.

Consortium members

Project partners