Making a presentation on the topic ‘Harnessing Fishery Resources: Swimming the Tide to Africa’s Development’ at the African Development Forum (ADF VIII) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dr. Rashid Sumaila of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre and Mohammed Seisay of the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources, said a more effective management of the world’s fisheries could avert undernourishment for about 19 million people worldwide.
They therefore called on countries to stay within environmental limits, because that is essential for meeting the goals of sustainable wealth creation from fisheries in Africa, and having adequate knowledge on the state of fish stocks and the ecosystems that support them, because the fish sector is very important for the people.
According to them, it is important to understand the immense value of Africa’s fishery resources to the continent, calling for the need to strengthen fisheries management especially, monitoring, control and surveillance.
They argued that reconciling Africa’s development goals within the environmental limits over the long term, in the case of fish could lead to increase in fish protein, create more jobs, generate income and profits for many people.
Holding the view that the use of subsidies could be harmful to the fisheries resource base, they advised against it, saying “subsidies should rarely be used, and if they must, they must be those that do no harm to resources.”
On policy issues, they urged that African countries engage only in mutually beneficial global trade, access agreements that are ecologically sustainable and practice only sustainable aquaculture that contributes to fish protein supply and increases food security while generating wealth.
The two also called on African countries to rally together to strengthen their common voice and position on fisheries and to also remember women who are a very important part of the fisheries sector in Africa.
The ADF VIII held from October 23 to 25, 2012 was under the theme: “Governing and Harnessing Natural Resources for Africa’s Development”.
It’s overall objectives, the organisers say are to raise awareness and cultivate deeper understanding of the role of Africa’s natural resource governance in its economic transformation. It also provided an opportunity to discuss frameworks, policy options and strategies to better integrate mineral, land, fisheries and forest management into national resource management programmes, strategies and policies.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, back from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia