Africa urged to take bold action on fisheries
A senior official from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said the African Union’s Fish Governance II project will help African countries, regional economic communities and regional fisheries bodies to provide coherent responses to challenges facing the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
Motseki Hlatshwayo, Senior Technical Advisor for Fisheries and Aquaculture at the SADC Secretariat based in Gaborone, made the remarks recently during a media training workshop on fisheries management and aquaculture development in Africa on the Indian island of Zanzibar.
The workshop was part of the AUs Fish Governance II project funded by the European Union (EU).
Hlatshwayo said the sector has been hit by a health crisis, and although it is on the road to recovery, much remains to be done to build resilience and enable players in the fish value chain to ensure better adaptation.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic had caught the world off guard.
“This has raised concerns…such as the supply of fish as priority health-related interventions to avoid malnutrition and gender inequalities, investment opportunities and governance mechanisms to effectively address against the pandemic,” Hlatswayo said.
He said SADC reaffirms its commitment to meeting the challenges, and the commemoration of 20 years of the SADC Fisheries Protocol under the theme “Protecting our fisheries, working for a common future” is a reflection of this.
David Balikowa, senior livestock manager for the East African Community, said the training workshop would help African journalists realize the importance of fisheries and aquaculture in the developing economies.
He said the media is an essential partner in the development and sustainability of the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
Islam Seif, Principal Secretary of Tanzania’s Ministry of Trade and Industrial Development, said fishing communities face challenges such as poor fishing infrastructure, lack of storage facilities, lack of gear and modern fishing equipment and lack of collateral to access loans. .
Nelly Isyagi, Consultant, spoke about the importance of managing aquaculture systems and aquatic production systems.
Isyagi said that productivity depends on the state of aquatic resources and that aquatic ecosystems are the ultimate recipients of pollution from human activity.
“Although aquatic resources are generally considered to be renewable, they are not infinite. Therefore, environmental management in aquaculture must be recognized in policy.
“They must be managed appropriately if their contribution to the nutritional, economic and social well-being of the growing population is to be sustained,” Isyagi said.
Andrew Saukani, a fisheries extension officer from Malawi, said the training enlightened him on the AU’s Agenda 2063, which is similar to Malawi’s Vision 2063.
Byron Mutengwere, a journalist from Zimbabwe, said that when raising awareness of the importance of fisheries and aquaculture, all stakeholders including the media, agricultural extension workers, regional economic communities and governments should be on board.