Policies aimed at regulating fishing capacity are critical for maintaining production and supply of fish products despite policy makers putting little focus on the role of fisheries and aquaculture to the national economic development.
This is contained in a draft report which was presented on the sidelines of the just-ended Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme last week in Durban, South Africa
The report says the absence of a fisheries policy has had a negative impact on the fish stocks and economies of African Union (AU) member States as well as on vital food supplies and jobs.
“The potential of the sector to contribute to poverty reduction and improved socio-economic benefits to populations have not been optimally exploited. It is estimated that the continent loses between $2 billion and $5 billion annually due to mismanagement in the sector.
“Factors such as the open-access character of capture fisheries, inadequate or weak governance at national level and for management of transboundary resources and ecosystems, institutional weaknesses and insufficient financial investments opportunities, have led to an increase in fishing pressure intensity, overfished stocks; illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; inadequate benefits from trade in fish and fish products; a poorly developed aquaculture sub-sector and weaknesses in fisheries and aquaculture management,” reads the draft report.
Speaking after the report presentation, senior adviser of fisheries partnership for African Fisheries for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), Sloans Chimatiro, said the draft report will be a guide for a robust fisheries and aquaculture sector.
“Many countries in Africa are endowed with fish resources from oceans, lakes, rivers and flood plants as well as fish farming; therefore, in these countries food and nutrition cannot be achieved efficiently without taking into account the role of fish.
“The Pan- African Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy Framework and the Reform Strategy, therefore, is an excellent starting point,” he said.
According to Chimatiro, the fisheries report will, among others, enhance conservation and sustainable use of fisheries resources through the establishment of national and sub-national governance and institutional arrangements that ensure societal contribution generated by Africa’s sectors have the greatest impacts at the appropriate level.