The project will support member states of the African Union to improve on their capacity and institutional arrangement for enhanced fisheries management and development that would result in much needed benefits to these countries. The primary entry points at the member states levels are the ministries or departments responsible for fisheries and aquaculture, national research and academic institutions and relevant institutions such as the navy, judiciaries, trade, etc. Based on the common recognition that partnerships and alliances between the public, private and civil sector are critical factors for success and sustainability in development, the project implementation strategy at member states level, in particular, will entail enhancing the role of private sector in key service delivery in the small-scale and aquaculture sub-sector.
Regional fishery bodies (RFBs) are the primary organizational mechanism through which states work together to ensure the long-term sustainability of shared fishery resources. As intergovernmental organizations, RFBs depend on the political will of their member governments to implement agreed measures and undertake reform. However, most RFBs are experiencing difficulties in fulfilling their regional duties. Fisheries management at regional level is therefore mainly the responsibility of these RFBs (and the RFMOs for specific fish fisheries) but with little or no collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) who are in charge of the regional integration agenda of the African Union. Strategically, the first activity of the project would be to rationalize the Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) to ensure their effectiveness in focus, minimize duplications of functions and reduce burdens on the AU MS for their sustenance, and foster anchorage with the RECs. To ensure strategic and cost-effective implementation of project activities, Fish-GOV will ensure close partnership with partners within the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM) in order to minimize duplication and promote strategic use of available resources. There is very low capacity in African institutions for effective monitoring of high seas fisheries to optimize gains from the exploitation of these ecosystems. This poor capacity has marginalized African institutions at Regional Fisheries Management Organization forums such as ICCAT, IOTC, etc. Regional collaboration would increase the prospects of significant returns from high seas fisheries such as tuna and tuna-like species.
The Directorate General of Marine (DG Mare) of the European Union has recorded successful interventions in support of fisheries management and development on the continent as well as globally. Collaboration with the DG Mare will be beneficial, owing to the EU's long experience and exposure to issues related to governance of marine resources.