In the framework of the relations of friendship and cooperation existing between Japan and the Kingdom of Morocco, an agreement relating to a loan in Japanese yen at a preferential rate and amounting to about 467 million dirhams signed on Monday, January 16, 2017 at the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Following the exchange of notes signed by Mr. Mohammed BOUSSAID, Minister of Economy and Finance, and His Excellency Mr. Tsuneo KUROKAWA, Ambassador of Japan in Morocco, signature of the Loan Agreement of Mr. Abdelmalek FARAJ, Director of the National Institute for Fisheries Research (INRH), and Mr. Hitoshi TOJIMA, Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), took place in the presence of Dr. Shinichi KITAOKA, President of JICA, and some officials of the Department of Maritime Fisheries and the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The importance of the fishing sector in the Moroccan economy and the close relationships between the Kingdom of Morocco and Japan in marine fisheries, Japan has long supported Morocco's efforts in the development of fisheries and oceanographic scientific research , in view of its major role in the Moroccan strategy of sustainability. In addition, the strengthening of marine, oceanographic and fisheries scientific research is a priority axis of the Halieutis Moroccan fisheries strategy, and this project is a major illustration.

Ships, currently used for the purposes of fisheries research in Morocco were procured through Japanese donations.. However, it is urgently necessary to acquire a new research vessel with new technologies to improve the assessment capacity of national fish stocks in order to strengthen Morocco's research capacity in Oceanography and ecosystem approach, especially in the current context of climate change.

The newly constructed oceanographic research vessel for INRH, approximately 48m in length, will have the latest state of the art oceanographic measurement, bathymetry echo sounding and marine resources echo sounding and trawling technologies, which will make major advances in the knowledge of the marine ecosystem, in terms of assessment and monitoring of fish stocks, and more generally in scientific support for the sustainable development of the fisheries sector.

The successful completion of the acquisition of this vessel is the starting point for future partnership opportunities for INRH, the research community, and above all, for regional and international cooperation in oceanographic and fisheries research, particularly in the field of oceanographic research, in the framework of  combating climate change, in Morocco and in North-West Africa. It is also part of the strengthening of the coastal ocean observation system of the Blue Belt Initiative that Morocco has recently launched on the occasion of COP22.

The loan granted to the National Institute for Fisheries Research, which will be the executing agency for the project, will allow the turnkey acquisition of the research vessel built in Japan, as well as training in Japan for its future exploitation.