29th February – 4th March 2016. A fisheries communication workshop was organized by African Union InterAfrican-Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), in collaboration with World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the SubRegional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) from the 29th February to the 4th March 2016 in Elmina, Ghana. The objectives of the workshop were to enable African journalists in making fact-based reporting on fisheries issues and enhance their capacity to play active role in the implementation of the African Union African policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa at national and regional levels. There were over 100 journalists and communication specialists from over 40 member states of the Africa Union
The workshop also provided excellent opportunity for AU-IBAR to share with the journalists some of the outcomes, particularly in terms of lessons learnt and best practices, of activities that had been carried out in fisheries and aquaculture sector on the continent. The expectations were that such accurate knowledge-based reporting will create the needed awareness in countries and thereby create a better enabling environment for the reforms to which governments have engaged.
Brief opening and welcome statements were made by the World Bank Country Director in Ghana but also responsible for Sierra Leone and Liberia, Mr. Henry G.R. Kerali, the USAID Representative, Mr. Kofi Agbogah, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the SubRegional Fisheries Commission, Madam Marieme Talla Diagne and Dr, Mohamed Seisay, Senior Fisheries Officer, AU-IBAR, on behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed El-sawalhy.
Mr. Henry G.R. Kerali, the World Bank Country Manager, in his opening statement, expressed concern over overcapacity in the fisheries sector noting that there were too many boats chasing too few fish and if the trend continues unchecked, reviews have stated that there would be more plastics in the oceans than fish by the year 2050. The representative of AU-IBAR, Dr. Mohamed Seisay, reminded the participants of the uniqueness of the workshop and opportunity for African journalists to support sustainable fisheries development on the continent. He noted the timeliness of the workshop giving the urgent need to accurately inform the wider citizenry and decision-makers on the challenges, opportunities, the current benefits and inherent potential of the sector. He informed the journalists that the pan African policy fisheries and aquaculture policy framework and reform strategy provides an excellent opportunity for coherent development of African fisheries and aquaculture sector.
The workshop itself at Elmina was preceded by field visits to fishing communities along the coastline (including at APAM and Elmina fishing communities) of Ghana to enable the journalists to familiarize themselves with some of the management and development issues and challenges in the sector.
The main outcomes of the workshop were:
- The establishment of the Networks of African journalists for sustainable fisheries
- Identification of the roles of African journalists in the implementation of policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa in the member states of African Union
- Creation of awareness on issues, lessons and best practices in the sustainable management of fisheries a and responsible aquaculture development