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In Morocco, fisherwomen adopt new climate-resilient practices

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In Morocco, fisherwomen adopt new climate-resilient practices

About 10,000 women collect shellfish and other seafood along the coastline to make a living.
From Africa Renewal: 
9 March 2022
UN Women/Mediating
Every day, the fisherwomen spend hours in the seawater and move over rocks and sharp injuries.
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In Morocco, climate change is now at the heart of political concerns, both at national and local levels, but its management requires a collective response.

Including women and girls in the design and implementation of climate response actions is key to addressing climate adaptation, mitigation and solutions for sustainable development and gender equality.

In the fisheries sector, approximately 10,000 fisherwomen collect shellfish and other seafood along the Moroccan coastline to make a living, risking their lives daily.

The fisherwomen from Tiguert, near the Agadir region, attest to the daily risks they face while collecting shellfish and share how they are working in ways to help preserve these natural resources for future generations.

Armed with a bucket, a basket, a knife, and boots—if they have them—the fisherwomen, usually aged 45 to 60 years, set out at dawn towards the foot of the cliffs where the arduous task of collecting shellfish awaits them.

On the road towards the cliffs, which stretch out for more than 20km, a rudimentary sign authorizes the collection of seafood. The 10 km trek takes nearly two hours each way, but their hopes of returning home with a good harvest is unwavering.

"With a fine blade and a knife, I scrape while respecting and protecting the species’ habitat,” says Fadma Ouchane, Vice-President of the Mahar Assahel Cooperative, which was established in 2019 to support local fisherwomen and to convey their needs, such as the provision of transportation and a workspace near the sea. “In few minutes, my basket begins to fill.”

After the shellfish are collected, they are cleaned, cooked, and dried in the sun before being displayed along the road to be sold. Depending on the availability of shellfish, the women may earn around DH 200 or DH 300 ($ 21 and $31) per month, with half a kilo going for DH 40 ($ 4).

Although shellfish are more abundant from May through July, the fact that shellfish are relatively sedentary, and their harvesting is possible all year round means that this is a reliable source of income for the fisherwomen.

Health Campaign