The fisheries resources in the LMEs of Africa are both poorly governed and managed and are often transboundary in nature. The SPFIF initiative therefore focussed at expanding capacity-building to a limited number of transboundary systems through integrated approaches and fostering replication through targeted learning.
The SPFIF was an initiative for the Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) of Sub-Saharan Africa and designed to promote sustainable management of fisheries resources in the LMEs towards achieving sustainable fisheries and poverty reduction targets set by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002. This was in response to the observation that the fisheries of the Sub-Africa LMEs (that is the Guinea Current, the Canary Current, the Agulhas and Somali Currents and the Benguela Current) are threatened from pervasive destruction of critical habitats of fish stocks and also over-fishing of valuable fish resources. The situation was also accelerated by absence of coordination mechanism in the governance of the sector.
The project started in November 2005. The initiative was in two parts:
- The investment fund to co-finance innovative projects in coastal African countries aimed at implementing the reforms needed to advance towards sustainability in selected fisheries and
- A strategic partnership led by the African Union to help support the exchange and dissemination of lessons learned from the projects co-financed by the investment fund, as well as to enhance implementation of these investments in general.
Project funding was by Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, executed by the World Bank and implemented by AU-IBAR. The Regional Advisory Coordinating Committee Secretariat (RACC) of the project was hosted by AU-IBAR. The regional activities were coordinated by the RACC Secretariat with assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The Project (SPFIF 1) was implemented from 2005 to 2011.