What are AU-IBAR’s perspectives on Coral Reef fisheries and attendant benefits? What are the consequences with regards to livelihoods, food security and environmental threats? Hellen Moepi, Fisheries Officer at AU IBAR, answers these concerns based on the Africa Blue Economy Strategy. There are presented during her opening speech on behalf of the AU IBAR Acting Director during the workshop of launching the project for “Enhancing Livelihoods, Food Security and Maritime Safety through Increased Resilience of Fishing Communities Dependent on Coral Reef Fisheries in the African Coastal Counties of the Indian Ocean” held on 23rd February 2021 in Kilifi County, Kenya. The project is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with the support of Government of Japan.
The Africa Blue Economy Strategy has a vision for an inclusive and sustainable blue economy that significantly contributes to Africa’s transformation and growth and aims to guide the development of an inclusive and sustainable blue economy. The strategy is a significant contributor to continental change and growth through advancing knowledge on marine and aquatic biotechnology, environmental sustainability, the growth of an Africa-wide shipping industry, the development of sea, river and lake transport, the management of fishing activities on these aquatic spaces, and the exploitation and beneficiation of deep sea mineral and other resources.
The Africa Blue Economy Strategy thematic area of “Environmental sustainability, climate change and coastal infrastructure” noted the need for conservation with respect to coral reef fisheries. The thematic area of “Fisheries, aquaculture and ecosystems conservation” is key for enhancing the socio-economic transformational change in Africa. One of its objective is to promote conservation and sustainable management of aquatic resources including coral reefs. The strategy also advocates for the development of eco-tourism that will contribute to the conservation of ecosystems and reduce the ecological footprint. Furthermore, The AU-IBAR Strategic plan 2018-2023 underscores the need for protecting the biodiversity in coral reefs.
The project’s overall objective is to improve coral reef fisheries production for food security by restoring fragile ecosystems and assisting fishing communities to better manage their coral reef resources.
It is essential to build resilient coral reef fisheries communities by improving management of coral reef fisheries both for restoration and protection as well as for income generation; reinforcing fishery value chains and access to markets for coral reef fisheries products; and struggling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and increasing maritime security safety.
The participants to the workshop included the representatives of the Government of Japan, the FAO, Potential Donors, UN Agencies, national Blue Economy sector players including the Ministry responsible for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy, fisheries and aquaculture industry players (fishermen, fish farmers, fish processors, fish traders, etc.), research and training institutions, NGOs, relevant private entities, local and international press.
The workshop is expected to:
- Develop a project implementation strategy that incorporates stakeholder participation,
- Identify and initiate collaboration process with key stakeholders in ongoing or planned related projects/programs for synergy purposes
- Recommend a national Blue Economy Strategy in the context of the FAO Blue Growth Initiative.
The key beneficiaries are the Governments of Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. The total project costs are estimated at USD 4,400,000 for a period of three years.