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98981By Jalal al Makhfi –

Harvesting mineral-rich seaweed on morocco’s Atlantic coast, Attibari Lemkhanter worries that a plant famous locally as “red gold” is apropos increasingly scarce.
“There are some-more and some-more divers and reduction and reduction red seaweed,” Lemkhanter sighed as he worked on a beach in El Jadida, about 100 kilometres southwest of Casablanca.
Collected during 3 months of summer on a slight widen of coastline, a red seaweed is used to furnish “agar-agar” — a healthy gelling representative renouned with cooks and veteran chefs, and also used in pharmacology and cosmetics.
An choice to animal-based thickening agents, agar-agar has prolonged been used in Asian cuisine though has won over some-more and some-more in a West and other tools of a world.
Not usually is it a good choice to animal-sourced gelatins for vegetarians and eremite groups that anathema pork, it also gels during aloft temperatures — hence quicker — than normal animal-based agents.
morocco has prolonged been a pivotal exporter and surfaced a tellurian producers’ list until 2006, when it was overtaken by China and Chile.
Over-harvesting lifted fears of long-term repairs and in new years Moroccan authorities have set prices and quotas to strengthen a resource.
But even that might not have been enough, Lemkhanter said.
“In a 1990s and a 2000s, we used to collect as many as 500 kilos of red algae a day. But a plant is disappearing,” pronounced a male in his 50s.
Dangerous work
As holidaymakers finished a many of a late summer fever in El Jadida, Lemkhanter slipped on his aged cosmetic boots and a patched-up outfit to get down to work.
The hilly seashore of El Jadida range lies during a heart of a harvest. There are no arguable sum for how many people make their vital from a seaweed though hundreds, if not thousands, take partial in a collect each year.
It can be dangerous work, generally for a many divers regulating archaic apparatus to strech inlet of between 20 and 25 metres.
“Many people come to El Jadida meditative it’s an El Dorado. It’s not surprising for us to have fresh youths drown,” Lemkhanter said.
After a change of 6 to 8 hours on his medium boat, a family male earnings to land with his harvest, anticipating to make a good sale.
morocco has given 2010 bound a “reference price” of 3.25 dirhams a kilo for a seaweed, underneath puncture reforms brought in by Rabat to save it from extinction.
morocco’s INRH sea investigate hospital lifted a alarm in 2009 when a collect soared to 14,000 tonnes, pronounced a Fishing Ministry’s Secretary General, Zakia Driouich.
As partial of wider reforms to a fishing industry, authorities set quotas as good as anniversary bans on collecting a red seaweed.
“If we had let a conditions go on, there would have been no red algae left,” pronounced Driouich, adding that a insurance measures had led to a 30 per cent reconstruction of bonds by 2011.
Quotas, rising price
Now, a sum annual share is bound during 6,040 tonnes, of that 20 per cent is exported.
Due to a rising direct and tumble in supplies, a trade cost of red seaweed has left adult from 12 to 30 dirhams a kilo.
About 80 percent of a red seaweed harvested is remade into agar-agar in Kenitra, north of Rabat, with roughly a whole outlay earmarked for export.
The zone brings in 31 million euros a year, pronounced Driouich, “but it is totally anarchic and there’s a lot of work left to organize a profession”.
The fishing method has started courses and arising permits, while some-more than 250 divers have been kitted out with correct equipment.
But Lemkhanter pronounced not adequate is being finished to strengthen those operative in what can be a hazardous profession.
“If we tumble ill and can’t dive, there’s zero else we can do though beg,” he said.  On a circuitously beach on morocco’s west coast, dozens of women and children collected a cherished seaweed swept adult by a tide.
“I’ve been entrance each day given my father fell ill,” pronounced Malika, a lady of about 40.  “I collect between 5 and 6 kilos a day,” she said. “But to make a living, we also collect and sell dull bottles.”  — AFP

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