ANP Denies ‘Looting’ Sand from Surf Beach near Agadir

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Rabat – The National Ports Agency (ANP) has just published a denial following information circulating online indicating that the sand on the beach of Imsouane, north of Agadir, has been plundered.

“It is only a project to dredge the sand accumulated in the port of Imsouane. This work is carried out periodically to preserve the depth of the basins and quays of each port in order to guarantee the safety of navigation and improve the operating conditions of the vessels,” said the ANP.

The ANP Regional Directorate in Agadir “has drawn up an action plan to improve the operating conditions of the port of Imsouane.”

The plan, which also aims to ensure the safety of navigation, includes the dredging of accumulated sand, which is a danger to fishers.

“The sand extracted by this dredging is dumped into the sea to avoid it being plundered,” according to ANP.

On March 13, the association Surfrider Foundation Morocco cited a source of the project team.

“Mechanical shovels have been dredging the beach of Imsouane since December 12, 2018 in order to clear the access to the port… to improve the working conditions of fishers,” said the source.

“The collected sand is deposited on the plateau north of Imsouane, a place called ‘la Cathedrale,’” added the source.

Surfrider published a video on March 8 showing bulldozers carrying out sand extraction operations in Imsouane.

Imsouane had until then been spared from “plundering operations widespread on other beaches.”

Called one of the world’s most beautiful beaches in 2017 by Forbes, Imsouane is a popular spot for surfers. They are “afraid that this dredging operation could change the wave that attracts up to 100,000 surfers each year,” reports the website Surfsession. Removing sand could “alter the break-up by making the wave flatter.”

The need for sand in Morocco stood at 45 million tons in 2015 and 60 million tons in 2020, the Professional Sand Association (APS) estimated.

The Littoral Act adopted in 2015 prohibits sand extraction from beaches and dunes. It also regulates any exemptions that may be granted. On 23 June 2015, the Chamber of Councillors passed the Littoral Bill.

The law prohibits damage to the natural state of the sea shoreline.  This prohibition does not apply to port areas, sea defences or public interest installations.

Created in 2010 in Agadir, the NGO Surfrider Foundation Maroc is a association for the protection, promotion and sustainable management of the coast, waves and its users. It is an affiliate of the Surfrider Foundation network.

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