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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Conde urges improved fisheries governance in Africa, reiterates AU commitment

The President of the Republic of Guinea, Professor Alpha Conde, has urged for improved fisheries governance on the continent of Africa, reiterating African Union (AU) commitment to conducive environment, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Conde in a keynote address at the 32nd Session of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI) held recently in Rome, declared that his initiatives as champion will reinforce the efforts already undertaken by the African Union in creating an environment conducive to dialogue on African development issues.

Conde who also doubles as the NEPAD Agency’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Champion, implored African Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives to the United Nations agencies based in Rome to drum support for continuous improvement in the governance of the fisheries sector in Africa.

President Conde further committed himself to support the implementation of reforms in the fisheries sector for effective governance of this important sector towards Africa’s development.

The contribution of fisheries to national economies in Africa is quite significant.  Revenues amount to nearly $24 billion per year, representing 1.26 per cent of the continent’s GDP and 6.02 per cent of its agricultural GDP.  Moreover, the sector provides more than 12 million people with direct employment. Women account for a quarter of the workforce in the sector and are also active in fish processing.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, in his remarks, emphasised that fisheries and aquaculture are not only important for eradication of poverty and hunger, but are also key to improving nutrition.

Challenges, he said, exist in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors that require urgent action, stressing that among them are the over-exploitation of fishery resources, the growing expansion of international demand for fish to which is added the lack of capacity of African institutions for adequate management of fisheries resources on the continent. 

Mr. Jose further said that the result of this is that Africa generally has the lowest fish consumption, estimated at 9 kg per capita, which represents less than half of the world average of 21 kg.  The per capita consumption is expected to decline further due to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

NaijaAgroNet, to counter the challenges of fishing on the continent, African Heads of State and Government adopted a policy framework and a fisheries and aquaculture reform strategy in July 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, with the aim of improving governance of the sector for the benefit of its people.

In addition African countries including Benin, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa and Sudan are party to FAO’s international accord aimed at stamping out illegal fishing which came into effect in June 2016.  The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA) is the world's first illegal fishing treaty.

Mr. Jose Graziano da Silva encouraged other countries to also be party to this agreement as soon as possible. “The agreement must be used with other tools in order to attain sustainable and legal fisheries. Generations to come will recognise the importance of this achievement,” he said.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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