African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in collaboration with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) organised an expert consultative meeting on ornamental fisheries from the 14-16 March in AU-IBAR offices, Nairobi, Kenya.
The overall objective of the meeting was to convey experts and relevant stakeholders in the field to brainstorm on the ornamental fisheries inclusively looking at the whole value chain (current status of the fisheries, trade route, trends, market etc.) with a view of identifying key issues in the sector to be addressed in the development and sustainable management of the sector. Other specific objectives were to (i) review of status of ornamental fisheries and trade including but not limited to the level of the exploitation, markets, target species, challenges etc. and (ii) propose strategic actions for the formulation of regulatory framework on Ornamental Fish Trade in the continent.
The meeting was attended by selected 18 participants with representatives drawn from the National Ministries of Fisheries, private sector, research institutes and regional economic community.
The meeting started with a brief welcome statement by the Conference Chair Dr. Simplice Nouala the Chief of Animal Production Unit on behalf of the AU-IBAR Director, Prof Ahmed El-Sawalhy. He acknowledged that the demand for ornamental fish is increasing at national, continental and international markets level due to several reasons including aesthetics, pleasure and the belief that it brings luck, helps ease stress and other factors. The earning potential of this sector has hardly been understood and the same is not being exploited in a technology driven manner.
A technical session was informed by several presentations from AU-IBAR, AU MS, regional institutions, private sector and non state actors. The outcome of the meeting was the identification of key issues and priority actions for sustainable development and management of Ornamental Fisheries in Africa. In addition, Kenya provided a Case Study of Ornamental Fish Industry in Kenya. An ornamental task force was also established to facilitate implementations of the key recommendations from the meeting.