Sardine Abundance in Northwest Africa: Morocco Benefits from Unexpected Fish Migration

Fes, Morocco, June 6, 2024: Morocco is witnessing an unprecedented abundance of sardines, as a recent scientific study reveals that this abundance is due to an unexpected fish migration northward driven by climate change.

Scientific Study Uncovers Sardine Migration:

A recent scientific study, conducted by researchers from various countries, including Morocco, has shown that the phenomenon of global warming has led to the migration of sardines and other small pelagic fish towards the north, along the coasts of Northwest Africa, providing Morocco with an exceptional opportunity to benefit from this abundance.

Study Publication:

This study was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal “Scientific Reports” and is based on the analysis of a vast amount of data collected from 2,363 trawl samples and 170,000 kilometers of marine acoustic surveys conducted over a 20-year period, from 1995 to 2015.

Rising Water Temperatures:

The study revealed a significant increase in the temperature of the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem, which extends from Morocco to Senegal, over the past 34 years. This temperature change has led to alterations in wind speed and upwelling intensity, particularly in areas where coastal upwelling was already strong.

Northward Sardine Migration:

The study also showed that the distribution range of sardines, scientifically known as “Sardinella aurita,” has shifted significantly northward at a rate of 181 kilometers per decade since 1995. Additionally, sardine populations have experienced an increase in subtropical regions, while decreasing in the tropical region.

Sardine Catch in Morocco:

Researchers attribute these long-term trend changes to a rise in average sea surface temperature and a decline in marine productivity in the southern regions of the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem. These changes have resulted in increased sardine catches in Morocco in recent years.

Sardine Appearance in Casablanca:

Researchers point out that the exceptional appearance of sardines in the city of Casablanca in 2015 may be linked to the northward shift in their distribution, as shown by the study.

Regional Cooperation for Food Security:

With the ongoing effects of global warming, such as drought, desertification, and rising sea levels, Morocco and the rest of Northwest Africa, which share similar fish stocks, can benefit from this sardine migration. Therefore, researchers suggest adopting a common regional policy to ensure food security and food sovereignty.

About محمد الفاسي