A workshop on national and regional fisheries and aquaculture policies in Africa is underway in Kampala, Uganda from 20-22 May, 2015.
Africa has vast fisheries and aquaculture resources. However, numerous challenges undermine the ability of Africa's fisheries to contribute sustainably to economic growth, livelihoods, food security, nutrition and healthy ecosystems. Among the major causes for the continued under- performance within the sector are the lack of policy coherence and coordination, increasing levels of IUU fishing, weak intra-regional and international trade, weak capacity for aquaculture development and poorly developed artisanal fisheries sector.
The need to reverse the trend was recognized at both the Abuja Declaration of African Heads of Government at the Fish for All Summit (2005) and the Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA). The Summit of African Heads of States and Governments consequently endorsed the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, June 2014, as the blue print for African fisheries and aquaculture development.
These continental initiatives have culminated into the establishment of the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM). The AFRM is a platform for coherence in the fisheries sector and for the formulation of realistic policy framework and reform strategies for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa from the continental to national levels. The AFRM has identified seven policy pillars and crosscutting issues that shall form the basis for strategic actions to address the major challenges in the sector. These are: conservation and sustainable resource use; small-scale fisheries development; sustainable aquaculture development; responsible and equitable fish trade and marketing; regional and sub-regional co-operation; awareness enhancing and human capacity development; and cross cutting issues in African fisheries and aquaculture (gender, finance and investment and climate change, building human capacity).
With support from the European Union, AU-IBAR is implementing the project on 'Strengthening Institutional Capacity to Enhance Governance of the Fisheries Sector in Africa'. One of the key result areas of this project is to improve institutional capacity and regulatory frameworks for sustainable fisheries management by working to promote coherence and harmonization in fisheries policies and regulatory frameworks.
This workshop is one of the activities to achieve this objective. The purpose of the workshop therefore, is to identify and formulate relevant criteria that can be used by key stakeholders to align national and regional fishery policies to the Pan African policy document in order to achieve the overall continental development goals.
The workshop was officiated by the Minister of State for Fisheries, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.