A new fish market has been inaugurated at the port of Boujdour in occupied Western Sahara, south of the capital El Aaiun. The development expands Morocco's capacity to exploit the already damaged fish stocks even further.
The 2.9m euro market will have state-of-the-art facilities, being next to the port where the fish is off-loaded. With a floor area of 2,478m2 it contains also cool rooms and ice-making facilities, shops for fishermen and fish merchants.
Boujdour is located quite central on the El Aaiun - Dakhla axis, the two major ports of occupied Western Sahara. As such, the new fish market is situated on a part of the coast that is particularly rich in fish, though some stocks are over-exploited or in danger of becoming over-exploited due to the intensive fishing by foreign fleets - first and foremost by the fleet of the occupying power, Morocco.
The opening of the fish market antecedes the inaugural of a new port, expected in the very near future. That new port is eagerly awaited for by the fish industry that is landing catches in occupied Western Sahara. The new port will have a capacity for 36 fishing vessels and 300 artisan boats, and will allow for an annual landing of around 170,000 tonnes of pelagic fish.
The Boujdour fish market is the second of the so-called "new generation" fish markets, installed by the Moroccan government in the territory it illegally holds. The El Aaiun fish market, according to Moroccan media the largest fish market in all of Africa, started operation in 2009. The Moroccan government is also planning to modernise Dakhla's fish market. A call for offers to construct the new Dakhla fish market was closed on 18 July.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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