An overview of the new Moroccan regulation on collection and export of meteorites: a geoheritage to promote and preserve

Hasnaa Chennaoui Aoudjehane

MAPS, Version of Record online: 13 January 2024


“Morocco is known for the high number of meteorites collected in its territory, including finds and falls. This is explained by the large size of the Moroccan Sahara, the guarantee of security in this desert, and the large community of well-trained Moroccan hunters and nomads who roam through it. Despite this richness, most meteorites collected in Morocco are sold abroad and exported. The exportation of meteorites as well as other geoheritage samples such as fossils and minerals was not completely legal or illegal as there was no dedicated regulation. Since 2000, the APPGM (Association pour la Protection du Patrimoine Géologique du Maroc) a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) dedicated to the preservation of the Moroccan geoheritage began working with the Moroccan Geological Survey, on a draft of a specific law dedicated to geoheritage. It was fundamental to benefit from the experience of other countries with a high number of meteorites where exportation is not allowed and that are losing their meteorites to illegal exportation. The author recommended a win-win regulation that would allow the legal collection and exportation of meteorites under clear rules benefiting both hunters and scientists but also the country. In 2014, Morocco updated its law regarding mines. One article cited geoheritage as including fossils, minerals, and meteorites and mentioned that their collection and exportation would be regulated by decree. In 2019, the Moroccan Geological Survey and APPGM prepared the application decree of this article that has been discussed and approved by the Moroccan government and implemented in February 2020. This situation is unique in the region as well as compared to the other countries with a high potential of meteorites collection. Meteorite researchers and collectors all over the world should be aware of this regulation in Morocco to make their acquisitions legal. They should request a copy of the “End of the work” from local traders, the receipt from the Geological survey, and the certificate of export from customs. It is an important ethical and scientific responsibility of our community.”