Yaoundé, Cameroun, 7th to 10th December, 2015. The Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS) placed emphasis on jumpstarting market-led sustainable aquaculture through a variety of strategies and, where appropriate, support interventionist development approaches supported by strong strategic and implementation plans. In this regard the importance of strengthening capacities and policy frameworks for environmental monitoring, habitat and ecosystems preservation in aquaculture practices is emphasised.
In line with above, the Fisheries Governance Project currently being implemented by AU-IBAR, has provided for an activity to develop Regional Frameworks on Environmental Management for Aquaculture. For sustainable aquaculture development at this level, there is need to develop and implement strategic sectoral environment management approaches that do not just focus at the farm but also factor in the wider environment. Aquaculture practice is dependent upon the health of entire ecosystem. Effecting sustainable aquaculture development encompassing the principles of Ecosystem Approach in Aquaculture EAA) therefore requires transboundary initiatives. Common, coherent and practical regional frameworks and policies that promote the development and practice of aquaculture within watershed resource limits in this case are critical. Having such guidelines in place will enable member states make appropriate and more realistic aquaculture development plans, approve appropriate projects and institute environmental management assessments more effectively.
Consistent with the above considerations, AU-IBAR, in collaboration with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency and the Government of Cameroon, with support from the European Union, organized regional consultative workshop on 7-10 December 2015 in Yaoundé, Cameroon with the overall objective of formulating regional frameworks for environmental management for sustainable aquaculture development for West Africa and the Central Africa Regions. The meeting was attended by national experts responsible for aquaculture in member states from West and African regions, regional fisheries bodies, regional economic communities, private sectors, researchers and academics.
The main outcomes of the consultative workshops were:
- Capacity of stakeholders in Environment impart assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for aquaculture development strengthened
- Awareness created and knowledge broadened on essential principles of Ecosystem Approach in Aquaculture (EAA)
- Elements or parameters and strategic action plans developed for the formulation of regional frameworks for aquaculture environmental management for the West African Region and Central African region