Communiqué - Think Tank Meeting on African Ornamental Fisheries

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© 2017 AU-IBAR. Communique from the Think Tank Meeting on African Ornamental Fisheries Held in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, at the Chelsea Hotel 31st July -01st August,2017.© 2017 AU-IBAR. Communique from the Think Tank Meeting on African Ornamental Fisheries Held in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, at the Chelsea Hotel 31st July -01st August,2017.Introduction

The Think Tank Meeting on African Ornamental Fisheries was held on the 31st July-1st August, 2017 at the Chelsea Hotel in Abuja in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The meeting was organized by African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in collaboration with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with the support of the European Union (EU).

The overall objective of the meeting was to share experiences (success, failures and obstacles) on the past and ongoing interventions in the sector and develop strategies and action plans for improvement, governance and management of African ornamental fisheries in the context of the Malabo Declaration.


The meeting was attended by 46 participants representing the 16 African Union Member States: Republics of Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroun, Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, and Zambia; Regional Economic Communities: Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Regional Fisheries Institutions: Nile Basin Initiative/Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NBI/NELSAP), Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA); Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC); Non State Actors; Private sector; Research institutions; Independent Experts; Development Partners Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Also in attendance were staff members from the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR),NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA).

The Meeting

Dr. Mohamed Seisay, Senior Fisheries Officer of the AU-IBAR facilitated the meeting.

Setting the Scene Session

AU-IBAR made a presentation on Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa: Background, Objectives and Expected Outcomes of the Meeting.

The following presentations were made to inform the deliberations

  • Dr. Semvua I. Mzighani, the AU-IBAR Consultant presented the outline of the consultancy study on what is required in order to monitor and regulate the status of Ornamental Fisheries in Africa: Overview, Regulatory Framework and Monitoring Mechanisms. The expected outputs of the study will be (1) the Technical report for Ornamental Fisheries in Africa; and (2) proposed regulatory Framework for Monitoring Exploitation of Ornamental Fisheries. It was mentioned that FAO has elaborate studies on fisheries development which the consultancy study could borrow from to create databases of ornamental fisheries in Africa. It was also agreed that during the group work session, the teams will discuss the issues of legal frameworks on property rights on ornamental fisheries.
  • Dr. Belal Emma, Director of Fisheries in Cameroun, Ms. Estela Mausse Deputy Director of National Fisheries Administration in Mozambique, Dr. Harris Phiri from the Department of Fisheries in Zambia, and Mr. Muazu Mohammed Director of Fisheries Department Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Nigeria presented on Lessons from Ornamental Fisheries in each Member State.
  • Dr. Nesaan Desire Coulibally, from the Institute of Environment and Agriculture Research provided an overview of the Role of Veterinary Services in Fish Health and Certification of Ornamental Fisheries.
  • Dr Gladys Okemwa of Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) talked about the Role of Research in the Sustainable Development and management of Ornamental Fisheries –Statistics and Data Collection, Identification and Protection of Endemic Ornamental Fisheries.
  • Mr. Christopher B. Ibuanokpe, President of the Association of Ornamental Fish Farmers and Exporters of Nigeria (AOFFEN) gave experiences of Ornamental Fisheries Association (Practitioners): Role in Linking Players within the Industry, Potential Benefits, Challenges and Prospects.
  • Ms. Beauty Maseko of Malawi Aquatics International (MAI) shared the Experiences of a Private Producer: Adaptation to Changes in the Local Industry: Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects for Commercial Ornamental Fisheries farm.
  • Mr Dassau Bondjerenou of Nature Tropicale ONG in the Republic of Benin shared Experiences of Aquarium: Opportunities and Challenges in Managing the Aquarium in Benin.

Group Working Session

The participants worked in groups to define critical thematic areas in the regulatory framework and define the critical elements of the regulatory sector including the (i) legal issues and (ii) regulations and mechanisms for monitoring (fisheries exploitation and conservation, fish culturing, trade & marketing, environmental management and biosecurity and transboundary issues). Interventions were provided by the participants during the plenary which enriched the results of the group works that informed the contents and expected outputs of the consultancy study.

Ms. Hellen Moepi, Project Assistant of the Fisheries Governance in AU-IBAR presented the draft Terms of Reference (ToRs) and Rules of Procedures for the establishment of a Continental Task Force on Ornamental Fisheries and the Task Force Committee Composition.

Participants discussed the draft ToRs and Rules of Procedures in Working Groups. Interventions from the participants during working groups and plenary aimed to improve the ToRs and the Task Force Committee composition in the context of proposed conservation, management, monitoring and regulating Ornamental Fisheries mechanisms for the continent. It was agreed that the comments would be incorporated into the draft ToRs and Rules of Procedures and sent to participants for finalization by AU-IBAR.

Each region of the African Union elected 4 representatives from the public sector, private sector, research institution and Civil society organization for the Continental Task Force on Ornamental Fisheries in Africa.

Meeting Outcomes

The meeting came up with the following outcomes:

  • Key elements for inclusion in the continental regulatory framework and mechanisms for monitoring ornamental fisheries was agreed upon.
  • Rules of Procedures and Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the continental Task Force on Ornamental Fisheries in Africa were adopted.
  • Continental Task Force on Ornamental Fisheries in Africa was established.

Representation of the Task Force on Ornamental Fisheries in Africa is as follows:

 West Africa
Private sectorAssociation of ornamental fish farmers and exporters
of Nigeria (AOFFEN)- Mr Christopher Ibuanokpe
Public sectorFederal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development- Mr Patrick Ogar, Nigeria
Research institutionsInstitut de L’Environment et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA)
CSONature Tropicale NGO- DOSSOU-BODJRENOU, Benin
 Central Africa
Private sectorSOCOPE- Jimmy N.Sendwe (DRC)
Public sectorMinistry of Fisheries- Filinto Saores D’Alva (Sao Tome & Principe)
Research institutionsLake Chad Basin Commission- Dr Na-andi M Tahir
CSOAfrique Avenir- Franck Ateba (Cameroun)
 North Africa
Private sector 
Public sectorMinistère de l’Agriculture, des Ressources
Hydrauliques et de la Pêche (MARHP) Rafik Nouaili (Tunisia)- focal point
Research institutions 
 East Africa
Private sector Kenya: Green Algae Highland Fish Farm
 Public sector Tanzania: Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (Fisheries department)
Research institutions Ethiopia: Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (SABETA)
CSO  Rwanda: Association for conservation of Nature in Rwanda
  Southern Africa
 Private sector Chiweio (Mozambique)
 Public sector Department of Fisheries (Malawi)
Research institutions South African Institute of Aquatic Research (South Africa)
 CSO Network of Environmental Civil Society (Zambia)


Key Recommendations

Further, the meeting came up with the following set of recommendations

  • AU-IBAR to facilitate the valuation of ornamental fisheries and its contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) of Africa Union Member States to inform policy making at National levels.
  • Integrate ornamental fisheries and aquaculture within the Chapter of legal Framework of the African Union and develop a Treaty to conserve, manage, exploit, monitor and regulate Ornamental Fisheries in Africa and protect African Union Member States from loss of germplasm including patenting as per the Nagoya protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • Create a database and information system of African Ornamental Fisheries and encourage continental data acquisition, information management, and sharing of knowledge within the AU Member States.
  • Create an African Ornamental Fish Centre of Excellence in various regions of the African continent.

Closing of the Meeting

Dr. Aboubacar Sidibe Senior Policy Officer – Fisheries and Aquaculture FIRST Programme, Dr. Bernice Mclean Senior Programme Officer - Fisheries of NEPAD Coordination and Planning Agency made their closing remarks.

Dr. Simplice Nouala, Head of Animal Production Unit in AU-IBAR thanked participants for participating in the two Africa Think Tank meetings for Ornamental Fisheries and further thanked the Federal Republic of Nigeria for agreeing to host the meetings in the beautiful city of Abuja. He stressed that Africa is endowed with catch and capture fish resources as well as ornamental fish which has contributed greatly to the economies of the African member States and therefore they need to be sustainably managed and developed in line with the Pan-African Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy Framework and Reform Strategy.

The meeting was officially closed by the Honourable Minister Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria. He started by recognizing the various representatives in the meeting and welcomed the participants into Abuja, Nigeria. He informed participants that Nigeria is committed to diversification of the Nigerian economy to exploit agriculture and fisheries, which has made the country to be the largest exporter of Catfish in Africa. He noted that Africa contribute <5% of world fisheries trade and that efforts being undertaken by Africa Union in this regard will help Africa play a major role in the world fisheries industry, bridge the gap between inter-African fish demand versus supply and tilt the balance of trade by exporting fish rather than importing it. He thus welcomed the formation of the African Women Fish Processing platform. He concluded by declaring the Think Tank meeting on African Ornamental Fisheries closed.