An Integrated Workshop on Enhancing Regional Cooperation for the Rational Management of Shared Fish Resources in Africa was organized by the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), with funding from the Fisheries Governance Project financed by the European Union (EU). The workshop was held at the AU-IBAR’s Conference Room in Nairobi, Kenya from 16th to 19th April 2018.
The workshop was attended by forty (40) participants comprising of representatives of the African Union Member States (AU-MS) most of whom participated in the previous Training Workshop on Fisheries Access Agreement, Regional Economic Communities, Regional Fisheries Bodies, CSOs, Experts, Consultants as well as relevant members of staff of AU-IBAR. The list of participants is attached as Annex 1.
The workshop was facilitated by Ms Nancy GITONGA, a Consultant who made the Harmonized Minimum Terms (HMT) relating to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) for Africa as a way to establish the African Voice.
Mr Obinna Anozie, a Policy Analyst AU-IBAR for Fisheries and Aquaculture in AU-IBAR, introduced the officials at the High Table and then conducted the self-introduction by all the participants.
Statement by Senior Fisheries Officer of AU-IBAR
Dr Mohamed Seisay, Senior Fisheries Officer, facilitated the opening session. He alluded to the importance of the Fisheries Access Agreement; Minimum Terms and Condition; Regional Fisheries Management Organizations and Fisheries. He shared the AU-IBAR satisfaction regarding the efforts done by some journalists who are members of MOSFA in giving more visibilities to AU-IBAR’s activities in their respective countries and congratulated them on behalf of participants who gave them standing ovation.
Statement by the Acting Director of AU-IBAR
On behalf of The Director of AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy, the current Acting Director, Dr. Baboucarr Jaw of AU-IBAR officially opened the meeting. In his opening statement he extended warm welcome greetings to all to Nairobi and more specifically to AU-IBAR. He sincerely appreciated the hosting of the Workshop which is designed to contribute to creating the enabling environment for increased sustainable impact of the fisheries and aquaculture sector for food security, livelihoods and wealth.
He noted that the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS) identified regional and sub-regional cooperation as one of the main policy pillar for the management of African fisheries and aquaculture sector. Under the framework of the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism, considerable progress has been made in coherence and coordination of African fisheries and aquaculture.
He further pointed out that the workshop is a combination of three critical events on: Formulation of Harmonized Framework for Minimum Terms and Conditions for access to African Fisheries; Enhancing Regional Cooperation for Negotiation of Fisheries Access Agreements as well as Establishing and Operationalizing the Mechanism for "African Voice in Fisheries".
He reminded the participants that in the past year, AU-IBAR conducted training in the negotiation for fisheries access in the five regions of the continent.
Furthermore he explained that an outstanding issue of concern was the possibility of establishing regional teams for joint negotiation of fisheries access agreement (FAA) for shared resources to enable the member states to secure increased sustainable benefits from the resources. According to him this workshop therefore seek participant’s expertise on how this regional mechanism for FAA could be established and the foreseen challenges.
In the light of the above, Dr Jaw recalled the expected outcomes of the workshop as follows:
- A framework to formulate a Harmonized MTC for access to fisheries in Africa is developed
- Frameworks for establishment of a regional mechanism for negotiating fishing access arrangements for shared at regional level are validated.
- The Mechanism for African Voice and Common Position within existing structures is operationalized.
He concluded by thanking the European Union for financial support to AU-IBAR, the NPCA and participants from MS and RFBs for excellent collaboration and then declared opened the Integrated Workshop on Enhancing Regional Cooperation for Rational Management of Shared Fish Resources in Africa.
The technical sessions alternated between presentations, working groups and plenary sessions.
Technical Session 1
Adoption of the Agenda & Programme
The Agenda (Annex 2) was adopted by the workshop participants.
Presentation of the Background, Objectives, Expected outcome and overview of the Workshop structures, by Obinna Anozie
Mr. Obinna Anozie, Policy Analyst - Fisheries and Aquaculture, AU-IBAR, gave a presentation on the background and objectives of the workshop. He outlined the policy context of the workshop inline with the African Union Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS), which was endorsed by Members States (MS) in 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Dr. Mohamed Seisay gave a presentation on rationale for establishing MTC, global perspectives and instruments on managing shared fish resources, inherent challenges to establishing MTC, the potential benefits for establishing MTC ,dovetailing his presentation on the SWIO Fisheries Accord that was jointly developed by AU-IBAR and WWF.
Objectives, principles, processes and purpose of Minimum Terms Conditions of Access (MTCA) to Fish Resources
Dr. Nancy Gitonga gave a presentation on the overview of Harmonized Minimum Terms and Conditions to enhance African Voice in the FPA in Africa. She highlighted that despite of the enormous and extensive marine’s resources, poverty in Africa coastal States is prevalent. She also added that if properly managed, the FPA can be a tool for fisheries development and wealth creation for the coastal communities and government of these countries.
She reminded the audience that since their introduction at the end of the 70’s, fisheries "cash for" access agreements and later on FPAs, have not been handled with fairness to the resource owners, and the basis of those agreements has hence remained the same, consisting of securing long term access. There are about 15 Fisheries Partnership Agreements in force between the EU and ACP countries and almost all with a few exceptions, such as Mauritania and Senegal tuna agreements and their duration is generally between four and six years. She added that interested foreign countries cannot maintain their fishing fleets without the resources from Africa and others ACP countries, and noted that Africa is in a very strong and advantageous position to achieve profitable agreements.
She further outlined the need for fundamental change of the guiding principles and framework which should focus on the following priorities: (i) good governance and environmental sustainability; (ii) provide an enabling environment for developing countries’ fishing operations, especially the SSF communities.
Dr. Nancy Gitonga identified many challenges which affected the efficiency of the FPA in terms of impacts in Africa, such as:
- Financial compensation: African’s countries scarcely know the amount of fish stocks available for their access economic value; Employment dedicated to Africans in those fleets is for the unspecialized crew, and the tradeoffs where the financial compensation benefits others sectors instead of fisheries.
- Value addition: the developing coastal countries does not benefits from value added activities, because of: fair value of access fisheries; transshipment at state port, etc.
- The European’s fleets are highly subsidized and this situation encourage overfishing.
- Fishing and processing limitation in Africa coastal MS taking in account : Fishing capacity, Fish processing and wealth creation in the SSF communities.
- Governance issues: underrated the importance of fisheries, transparency in earnings, transshipments, and negotiations skills.
She concluded by making suggestions on the ways to overcome the challenges and ensure the FAA for African fisheries benefit the communities and contributes to the countries’ economies. Some of the recommendations include the following:
- Establishment of Framework for Fisheries Access Agreements with MTC. There is need to establish a Framework for Fisheries Access Agreements for Harmonized Minimum Terms and Conditions (MTCs) for access to Africa’s fish by foreign fishing fleets
- Access to information to enhance transparency and therefore ensure FPAs benefit the SSF communities.
- Setting up consultative process for the agreements.
- Establishment of a negotiation teams. To achieve this recommendation, African Coastal countries should invest in: reliable and up-to-date fisheries data, improving fisheries management and surveillance information systems and building negotiation capacity through, training and equipping negotiators to able to negotiate at par with their counterparts.
- African voice forum: Establish a credible and sustainable forum that can audibly voice Africa’s interest in getting maximum benefits for Africa’s fisheries resources: establish a credible and sustainable forum that can audibly voice Africa’s interest in getting maximum benefits.
- Cost and benefits considerations; African coastal states must ensure that they fully understand and appreciate the complete cost-benefit analysis of the proposed access agreement, including the actual and total ecosystem and social costs of harvesting the proposed quantities of fish by a foreign fleet of vessels versus the actual and total financial, social, political and biological benefits of the proposed agreement.
- Implementation of access agreements: FPAs should only be concluded on the strict condition that where necessary, the African state concerned must be provided with the resources to fully administer, manage and monitor fisheries activity in its waters to adhere with international and regional best practices, as well as international and domestic laws.
Technical Sessions 2 & 3
Status, Challenges and Progress of implementation of National, Regional and sub regional MTCA
Five selected African Union Member States namely Tunisia Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya and Gabon from the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Red Sea and Indian Ocean Fisheries made presentations on Narratives of Implementation of MTC at National Levels.
Presentations on Status, Progress and Challenges relating to the implementation of MTCA at regional and sub regional levels were made by relevant Regional and Sub Regional Fisheries Organizations namely: COMHAFAT, SFRC, SWIOFC, FCWC, COREP, BCC.
Presentations by Working Groups and Plenary discussions
Three Working Groups were constituted on the regional fisheries basis: Atlantic:- Western and Central Africa, Indian Ocean:- Eastern and Southern Africa and the Mediterranean:- Northern Africa. The Group Session 1 on Identification of Issues and Challenges, Group Session 2 on Identification of Priority Elements for the Harmonized MTCA Framework and Group Session 3 on Main Issues, Priority Actions and Expected Challenges on Regional Cooperation for FAA were held with guidance provided by the Consultant.
The rapporteurs of each of the 3 Groups presented their outcomes, comments and suggestions to the Plenary Session for discussion and then submitted to the Consultant for improving the subject below:
- Establishment of a framework for harmonized conditions for Access (MTC).
- Enhancing Regional Cooperation on Fisheries Access Agreement.
Their findings on the major actions to be conducted to address challenges relating to MTC for Access to Fisheries in Africa, are the following:
- Ensure good governance with the full participation of all stakeholders.
- Develop an evaluation and control mechanism over foreign fleet fishing activities.
- Improve knowledge of fisheries resources value and economic benefits.
- Strengthen mandates of RECs and RFBs and provide material resources to implements mandates.
- Develop a harmonised protocol for the licensing regime with the aim of improving and strengthening the process to enhance compliance.
- Develop adequate and harmonised fisheries management plans.
- Develop dedicated national and regional strategy on transhipment.
- Review and update penalty and penalty conditions in line with international best practices with the object of making them more deterrent.
- Develop a strategy for re-negotiating poorly concluded access agreements.
- Conduct cost benefit analysis to optimise benefit accruing to member states.
About the enhancement of Regional Cooperation on Fisheries Access Agreement, the working groups presented in plenary session the challenges and weakness on the regional level. The main challenges represented in weak negotiation process and weak monitoring system of the foreign fleet has affected the fish stock to the degree of overexploitation. They presented a framework taking into account Priority Actions required and suggestions on Strategic Action Plan at national Levels, regional and continental levels to address the challenges.
Technical Session 4
Establishing and operationalizing the Mechanism for "Africa Voice in Fisheries"
The participants identified in a brain-storming participatory exercise in the plenary at the Technical Session 4 on Establishing and Operationalizing the Mechanism for ‘Africa Voice in Fisheries’ a comprehensive list of international‘s Fisheries Organization through which the African Voice should be coordinated and enhanced.
Through a prioritization process the workshop agreed on the following:
This Africa Voice in Fisheries be participatory, consultative with bottom-up approach, starting at the countries level to RFMOs coordinated by AU-IBAR. Participants urged AU-IBAR to finalize the MoU with the relevant RFMOs for effective and efficient implementation of the African Voice.
The process and mechanism to operationalize the African Voices in Fisheries should be drafted by a consultant and submitted to validation.
Outcomes of the Workshops
- The participants agreed comprehensively to address the challenges on the implementation of Minimum Terms and Conditions for Access to Africa Fisheries and validated the formulated outline and content of Harmonized Framework for MTC in Africa.
- The workshop also validated the formulated Frameworks for establishment of a regional mechanism for negotiating fisheries access arrangements for shared fisheries indicating priority and strategic actions at national, regional and continental levels.
- An Operationalized Mechanism for African Voice and Common Position within existing structures was also validated by the workshop.
The Way Forward
- Consultant to finalize the document in three (3) weeks.
- Share the documents online with participants for comments and inputs within 5 days.
- Send back the inputs of the participants to the Consultant, and the Consultant will be given 5 days to complete.
- Translate the document into AU languages for high-level dialogue. Expected in May 2018.
- Final versions of the (i). Framework for Harmonized Minimum Terms and Condition for access to Fisheries in Africa; (ii). Regional Mechanism for Negotiating Fisheries Access Arrangements for Shared Fisheries and (iii). The Mechanism for African Voice and Common Positions in Fisheries are appropriately articulated, finalized and ready for submission for political ownership and adoption by AUC.
Closing of the Meeting
The delegate from Kenya Mrs. Susan Imende representing the participants delivered vote of thanks on behalf of the participants in which she thanked AU-IBAR, the people to host this important meeting. Dr Baboucarr Jaw the Acting Director (AU-IBAR) gave a closing remark on behalf of the Director and expressed satisfaction that objectives and expected outcomes were effectively accomplished.