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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Morocco

Article 31 of Morocco’s constitution ensures citizens’ access to water and to a healthy environment. Article 152 outlines the functions of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council. This council may be consulted by the government, by the Chamber of Representatives and by the Chamber of Councilors on all the questions of economic, social or environmental character. It gives its opinion on the general orientations of the national economy and of lasting development.

Featured Legislation

1988: The Order of the Minister of Maritime Fisheries and the Merchant Navy No 1154-88 was instituted.This decree sets the minimum market size of the species fished in Moroccan waters.

1993: Decree No. 2-89-597 was signed. This decree fixes the veterinary health police measures for the importation of animals, animal foodstuffs, products of animal origin, animal multiplication products and sea and freshwater products.

1995: The Commission Decision 95/30/EC was unveiled. Fishery and aquaculture products originating in Morocco may be imported into the European Community as long as they meet the following requirements: (a) each consignment must be accompanied by a health certificate compiled according to the model laid down in Annex A hereto; (b) the products must come from approved establishments listed in Annex B; (c) with the exception of frozen fishery products in bulk and intended for the manufacture of preserved foods, all packages must bear the word “Morocco” as well as the approval number of the establishment of origin.

1995: Decree Noº 1-95-154 was brought into force. This law regulates the waters. It is made up of 123 articles divided into 13 chapters, namely: Hydraulic public domain (I); Acquired rights on the hydraulic public domain (II); Conservation and protection of the hydraulic public domain (III); Planning of the development of hydraulic basins and the use of water resources (IV); General conditions of water use (V); Pollution control (VI); Water for food (VII); and Natural waters and waters of interest.

2000: The Order of the Minister of Equipment No. 1647-00 (relating to the setting of the water withdrawal threshold in groundwater) was established. According to the legislation, the threshold for water withdrawal from the groundwater within the action area of ​​the Oum Er-Rbia Hydraulic Basin Agency is set at 10 cubic meters for domestic uses.

2006: Order of the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Maritime Fisheries No 1275-06 was enacted. According to the legislation, fishing and collecting seaweed are prohibited off the Atlantic coast between the parallels 33 ° 11.4 ‘North (Souk Moulay Abdellah) and 33 ° 10’ North (Port of El Jorf Lasfar).

2010: The Order of the Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment No. 617-10 was passed. This legislation ensures that petroleum products conform to the characteristics corresponding to their name. The characteristics of unleaded super fuel are modified by this decree.

2011: Decree No. 2-10-164 was created. The purpose of this decree is to set the conditions and methods of fishing for fish species requiring specific regulations due to local uses or special circumstances.

2013: Council Regulation (EU) No. 1270/2013 was adopted. The present Regulation provides for the allocation among certain Member States of the fishing opportunities established under the Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution. Further it stipulates that if the applications for fishing authorizations from those Member States do not cover all the fishing opportunities set by the Protocol, the Commission may take into consideration applications for fishing authorizations from any other Member State, pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No. 1006/2008 concerning authorizations for fishing activities of Community fishing vessels outside European Community waters.

2013: Decree No 2-13-323 was introduced to regulate state incentives for the acquisition of agricultural equipment.

2014:Decree No ° 2-13-359 was approved, overseeing the organic production of agricultural and aquatic products.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • Morocco has recently been accepted as an observer member of the network of European environmental prosecutors, a role which will allow the nation to enact harsher penalties for environmental crimes. Morocco’s request to the network of European environmental prosecutors has been a long time coming, as rapid and extensive sand extraction is devastating the environment. Sand trafficking has attracted the attention of organized crime syndicates whose involvement is facilitated by state corruption. Morocco has become the very first African country to benefit from the status of observer member of the network of European environmental prosecutors, and will use its resources to highlight the links between the destruction of beaches and the high demand for Morocco’s sand. Moroccan magistrates will now benefit from several advantages such as heightened capacities to deal with environmental law enforcement; an active role in the development of knowledge in environmental law and in environmental criminal law; a prominent role in the investigations, prosecutions and sanctions in criminal environmental law. While Morocco’s mandate has changed in the face of looming marine pollution, deforestation, coastal erosion, its government is spearheading amendments to environmental legislation – namely, harsher penalties for the mismanagement of water and waste. According to Saâd Moummi, the president of the criminal environmental law chamber at the Supreme Court of Morocco, “the culprit is punished with death when the facts resulted in the death of one or more people.” The direct persecution of protected species such as white-tailed eagles and imperial eagles is a growing problem in Austria. Raptor species such as buzzards, kites and harriers have been pushed to the brink of extinction due to the illegal shooting, trapping and poisoning of endangered species. So called “hot spots” have been identified in three districts in Lower Austria and there have been 87 documented cases of illegal persecution involving a total of 165 animals from 2016-2020.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development: