A consensus emerged from the opening remarks that marked, last Monday, the official opening of the FirstConference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture, which was on the theme: “African Fisheries and Aquaculture contributing towards Agricultural Development and Economic Growth “. This is the precarious situation of the fishery sector and the need to develop a synergy around the search for solutions to ensure sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources. In the view of the Gambian Minister of Fishery, Hydraulic and Relations with the Parliament, Kebba Lamin Bajo, the establishment of a platform for regional cooperation to address the problems of the sector is the only way to effectively protect fishery resources. Especially since these already provide, and for the most part, food security and consistent income with populations.
According to a report by the African Union on the progress made over the past four years, after the summit “Fish for All”, the fishery sector makes a vital contribution to food security and nutrition to 200 million of Africans and provides income to over 10 million people engaged in the production, development and trade. Fish has also become a major export commodity for Africa. But the unfortunate fact is that the natural stocks of fish are now reaching the limits of catch, while aquaculture production is still insufficient.
Better management of natural stocks.
Therefore, indeed, aware of the situation, Africans’ Heads of State and Governments, through NEPAD, have adopted a global vision of development for Africa and endorsed the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as a framework for the restoration of agricultural growth, food security and rural development in Africa. And under the CAADP at the summit “Fish for All” of the African Union and NEPADheld in Abuja in 2005, they also approved the NEPAD action plan for fisheries development and the Aquaculture in Africa to improve the management of natural fish stocks, development of aquaculture production and capacity of fish trade in domestic markets, regional and international. Including increased investment in critical areas of inland fisheries and coastal marine fisheries and aquaculture.
From all these actions already undertaken by the Heads of State and Governments, especially in the context of NEPAD, the first conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture, which was preceded yesterday’s by the meeting of African experts Fisheries and Aquaculture, will focus on developing common strategies to strengthen sector capacity for wealth creation and food security. This will go towards the harmonization of fisheries policies, but also the establishment of new agreements for access to fishing, as well as strengthening the fight against illegal fishing. The meeting was preceded by a five-day training of African journalists on issues of artisanal fisheries.